Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Blog: Balancing Time by Lisa Mondello

Balancing Time by Lisa Mondello

You don’t have to be a writer to know how hard it is to balance yourself between work and family. But as a writer who works from home, it’s particularly hard. The whole concept of “work from home” gets lost because when people hear that, the only word they truly hear is “home”.

This has been true for me for nearly 20 years. Since my children were born, I’ve had the pleasure of “mostly” being able to work from home and be accessible to the family while earning income. This kind of thing isn’t for everyone. I know busy moms who would rather have a mouth full of root canals than try to balance work and family from a home office. (And there are days I would put myself in that category!)

The problem with working from home is that your home and your never off the clock all at the same time. Friends and family just assume they can stop over for coffee at any time. Neighbors feel free to leave your name with the UPS driver to drop off packages. And kids and spouses, no matter how supportive, physically see you at home…so you’re home. Whatever crisis is happening at home is yours to deal with. That can be pretty rough when you’re on deadline.

But life happens and it doesn’t stop just because you have a deadline. So trying to balance work/writing and life is important. It’s also an ongoing struggle I haven’t yet mastered. But I’m getting there. Here are some tips.

1. Take your laptop and get out of the house occasionally. It doesn’t have to be every day. But a few hours at the local coffee shop (in the next town so you don’t run the risk of accidentally meeting chatty friends who don’t get why you’re out in public) can do wonders to help you focus and get work done without distraction. I have been able to get a lot done in a crowded Starbucks simply because the noise around me wasn’t my noise. I could tune it out and focus. At home, all noise is my noise and I have to deal with fighting kids, a barking dog and a cat screeching to be fed or get affection.
2. Don’t fight the clock. Yes, you’re on deadline and the clock is ticking. But dinner still needs to be made. Kids still need to get to work or school. The housework…well, that’s another post. Get the kids and hubby taken care of and leave the rest.
3. Don’t answer the phone when you’re working. This one was VERY hard for me because I can’t stand a ringing phone and I always worry someone is trying to get in touch with me for an emergency. So I have given my cell phone to family and have told them to ONLY call for something important while I’m working.

Being a back-to-the-wall writer helps me when I’m on deadline. I can write when in a frenzy. But not everyone can and sometimes I do get frazzled when I think I’m not going to make a deadline. These balancing tips help to keep me from stressing so I can get things done.

Material Witness EXCERPT:

Uneasiness skittered through her, settling in her stomach. It wasn't the same stirring she felt just seconds ago. Cassie refused to believe it to be a premonition, so she passed it off as fatigue.

Jake's presence in her home was too intimate. He'd been an enigmatic stranger at Rory's, and a highly professional police officer at the police station last night. He was much the same now, except in her apartment, surrounded by her personal things, Cassie felt almost…naked in a way she hadn't felt for some time.

“Colombian coffee on the refrigerator door. Filters in the cabinet above the coffee maker on the counter,” she said.

As Jake treaded to the kitchen, Cassie plopped down on her slipcovered sofa and draped the afghan over her legs. This man had been privileged to see more of her than any man had in three years, and she hadn't even known him a full twenty-four hours.

It wasn't only modesty. Scratches from the flying glass and bruises from hitting the floor were now surfacing on her skin. Cassie hadn't felt them when she'd showered last night or before she went to bed, but now that the adrenaline rush had worn off, they were nagging at her.

She reached for the newspaper. “What am I reading?”

“Front page,” Jake called out from the kitchen.

Cassie slapped the newspaper on her lap, fingering the edge of the paper as she examined the headline. “The President vetoed—” she started to say before Jake came back into the room and cut in.

“Bottom of the page, big bold print.”

Her eyes grazed the page of the Providence Journal Bulletin until they settled on the article Jake was referring to. Her whole body collapsed as the newsprint screamed at her. Crime novelist Cassie Lang involved in deadly shoot-out.
Cassie’s heart stopped beating and her hands shook so violently, the newspaper slipped from her fingers and fell to the floor. When she finally found her voice, it was barely audible to her own ears as she spoke.

“You said you weren't going to reveal my name.”

Jake was at the doorway, leaning his shoulder against the doorjamb.

“I didn't.”

“Then how? Who?”

Author Bio:

Lisa Mondello (a.k.a. LA Mondello) has held many jobs in her life but being a published authors is the last job she'll ever have. She's not retiring! She blames the creation of the personal computer for her leap into writing novels. Otherwise, she'd still be penning stories with paper and pen. Her first book, All I Want for Christmas is You, was the winner of the Golden Quill contest for Best First Book and to date has had over 350,000 downloads worldwide.

She is currently the author of 14 novels under the name Lisa Mondello and LA Mondello.

You can find more information about Lisa Mondello at

Twitter at @LisaMondello


a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I enjoyed the guest post. It is always helpful to see how other people balance their time. It is something that is so hard to do. I like the idea of taking the laptop somewhere to work. I have never done that. I also thought the excerpt was interesting and well written.

    Thanks for sharing-

  2. Thank you, Jess! I am always amazed at how much I can manage to write when I'm not sitting at my desk. When you know you only have a finite amount of time to write, the brain kicks into gear!


Thank you for stopping by - please let me know what you think