A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

The Lazy Author’s Guide to Maintaining a Work Life Balance in Ten Easy Steps

1. Start by redefining your idea of ‘a life’. Try to think of any place you have to wear shoes to as a social event.

2. Multi task. Going to the loo = Me Time.

3. In order to carve out some writing time you’re probably going to have cut back on other activities. I’ve heard it suggested that you could give up watching TV or lying around in your jammies playing computer games, but let’s not get silly. Personally, I’ve given up dusting and caring what people think about the way I look.

4. Take no notice whenever anyone criticises you for being a workaholic. There’ll be plenty of opportunity for regretting your choices when you’re a lonely and bitter millionaire.

5. Lots of energy can be saved in the kitchen if you focus more on the Just Add Hot Water food group.

6. Choose a cut off time and don’t work after it. ‘2020’, ‘When I’m dead’ and ‘As soon as I get sales like John Green’ are not valid cut off times.

7. Learn to ignore the little things, like holes in your teeth, or children.

7½. In fact, don’t have children.

8. Too late for number 7½? Don’t panic; with a little hard work and extensive neuro-linguistic programming, children can trained to do simple tasks, like making cups of tea and staying out of a young offenders’ institute.

9. Do your writing in a different room to the one where you relax. A room not in your own house is an even better idea if you don’t want to be interrupted by someone playing Hot Cross Buns on the recorder or someone else asking when you’re going to be finished with a passive-aggressive edge to their voice.

10. Accept that occasionally you will feel anything but balanced. There will be times when your bathroom is filthy and you miss all your friends and it’s been so long since you’ve eaten fruit and vegetables that you fear your only option to ward off scurvy is to eat the dried orange slices from the potpourri. This is all part of the rich (unhoovered) tapestry of an author’s life. Embrace it. Either that, or you can close the bathroom door and invite a friend round for takeaway.


C.J. Harper is the fourth of five sisters, which means she still eats with one arm shielding her plate. There are enough children’s books in her house to build a fort, but she absolutely hasn’t ever skived off work to do that.

C.J.’s first book, THE DISAPPEARED, is a dystopian thriller set in a school where the teachers are kept in cages for their own safety. Her next book, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH, is about 14 year old Faith, who is in big trouble because her Head of Year seems to think that she is always blowing stuff up and giving supply-teachers radical haircuts. (Whereas, it was actually just that one time.) Faith’s diary charts her blood feud with her teacher, her attempts to ignore the immaturity of old people, and her quest to find herself a boyfriend who knows how to have a good cheese fight. It’s not a dystopian thriller.

6 comments on “The Lazy Author’s Guide to Maintaining a Work Life Balance in Ten Easy Steps

  1. dansmithsbooks
    May 24, 2013

    Great. This gave me a much needed laugh. Thank you very much!

  2. Sue Hyams
    May 24, 2013

    I’m really embracing number three today. In fact, I have been doing so for some time now! Glad I’m not alone.

  3. kerendavid
    May 26, 2013

    Genius. Number 9 can be adapted when kids grow older to ‘Someone playing Call of Duty and killing many people.’

  4. kateormand
    June 7, 2013

    Very funny! Thanks CJ!

  5. Pingback: Links Galore | Annie Cardi

  6. Heli Cohen
    February 19, 2014

    Hi Candy …wow chick you’ve done so well (btw it’s Heli from our uni days) can’t wait to have a read of yr books …big hugs to you and yours x

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