by | Oct 30, 2016 | The Writer's Life | 6 comments

by Sonja Stone

True Confessions from the Trenches.

Halloween cookies by Sonja Stone
I do everything obsessively, including decorating cookies.
As a child, Halloween was my favorite holiday (second only to Christmas). I enjoyed dressing in disguise, stealing through the neighborhood incognito (spy fanatic, remember?). But my love of costumes paled compared to my love of free, unlimited candy. That’s right: I was a sugar addict. Every year I’d collect my share in a pillowcase, take it all home, dump it on the living room floor for inspection. Discard any open packages, trade with my sister: my smarties for her peanut butter cups. Then I’d sneak behind the couch and stuff myself until my parents realized I’d gone missing. 

I’m a cookie artist AND a makeup artist!
As an adult, I loathe Halloween. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I’ve never liked the idea of hooligans running round the city all night. I turn out my lights and set a huge bowl of candy on the front porch with a sign that reads, “Please take one piece only!” Then I watch through the peephole as the very first trick-or-treaters dump the entire bowl into their knapsacks. I’m the crotchety old man of the neighborhood.

Thanksgiving, however, is another story entirely. It’s the one day a year I host an event (introvert). The same three families have been gathering at my house to celebrate Thanksgiving for over a decade. I’m a traditionalist: turkey, gravy, garlic-roasted mashed potatoes, broccoli casserole (more cheese and Ritz crackers than actual vegetables), sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar, cranberry sauce. Then the deserts: apple pie, pumpkin pie made with fresh roasted pumpkins, pumpkin creme brûlée, pumpkin ice cream (made from scratch), and a pear and cranberry crisp.

Interestingly, every year I have a major writing deadline that falls within days of Thanksgiving. It never fails. And in case I haven’t mentioned it: I’m not much of a multi-tasker.

So back to the headline: The Glamorous Life of an Author. 

I just handed in the first draft of my manuscript (the sequel to DESERT DARK). For the three weeks or so leading up to the submission, I went completely MIA. This was my schedule: wake up, drink coffee, start writing, drink more coffee, write, forage for food (not homemade), write, drink iced tea, write, write, write. Notice what’s missing: doing the laundry, exercising, returning phone calls, doing dishes, posting on social media, being a productive member of society in any way/shape/form. I’m not gonna lie to you: it got pretty ugly.

So the past few days (since the glorious moment I hit ‘send’), I’ve spent catching up on life. A dentist appointment, grocery shopping, paying bills, unpacking boxes—from my move in JUNE. My iPhone reports that I have 19 new voicemails, 12 unread text messages, and 1,543 unopened emails. 

Here’s what I don’t understand: every single one of my blog sisters seems to manage writing, family life, socializing, and leisure time while STILL making deadlines and authoring amazing thrillers. 

As we enter into the holiday season (though at 91 degrees here in Phoenix, it doesn’t feel like fall), I would like to state publicly my End-of-Year-Resolution (that’s not a thing; I just made it up): For the remaining two months of 2016, I will strive for more balance in my life. Because I’ve discovered that all work and no play might make Jack a dull boy, but it makes Sonja a raving lunatic.

What about you? Does anyone else struggle with the work-life balance (please say yes)? Leave your confessions in the comment section below!
Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Chris Goff

    Sonja, I love the makeup job for the 1/2 skeleton picture. Well done! I can't imagine celebrating fall holidays in Phoenix. We celebrated Christmas once in Hawaii and — while we had a great time — it didn't really feel like Christmas. Even with the decorated pine. Somehow Hot Spiced Cider just doesn't hit the spot in 90 degree weather. Of course, Denver has seen record temperatures in the 80s this year and usually by now we've seen snow. Yikes! It may be one of the first Halloweens on record where the trick-or-treaters don't have to wear long johns and coats.

  2. Sonja Stone

    Chris, I'm glad to hear Phoenix isn't the only city experiencing an unusually warm fall. Misery loves company! 😉

  3. Karna Bodman

    Great post, Sonja – but first, may I please come to your home on some future Thanksgiving? Your entire menu plan is just too terrific not to share – right? As for the writing challenge — I know what you mean about having to meet a deadline and shutting yourself away from every other task. It reminds me of a great cartoon I saw of an author hunkered down alone in a messy library in front of a computer, surrounded by books, papers, files — the caption reads: "Definition of a writer: One who labors in complete seclusion for the sake of communication."

  4. Sonja Stone

    Karna, YES! Come for thanksgiving! I laughed out loud at your comic–it's so true!

  5. Gayle Lynds

    Congratulations, Sonja. You finished your new book. Wahoo!!!! Welcome back to the land of living (e.g., until the next book!) P.S. Seems like a perfectly normal life to me. 🙂

  6. Sonja Stone

    Lol, thank you, Gayle! It's so great to be back!