Random Thoughts from Sommer Marsden

12_11 Sommer MarsdenBalancing life and writing: It’s very easy! Except for on the days it’s very hard. I have days where I get on a roll. I have my day mapped out, I stick to the plan, I keep my momentum. I call these “Theme Song Days”. You know, the kind of day where you feel as if you should have an awesome theme song playing in the background as you go through the day kicking @$$ and taking names. Then there are the days where I’m proofing one book, writing on another, find out I have to turn in final line edits for yet another one on that very day and I…burst into tears behind the wheel of my car while trying to run a million errands.

I think it’s like anything else. When you get good at it and you make a job of it, you have a long and constantly shifting list of responsibilities. Add life to that and it can get sticky. But it can also be amazing.

Where do ideas come from?: I have no idea. Next question! LOL. Just kidding. Sort of.

The ether. They come out of nowhere. I’ve gotten ideas based on songs, dreams, things I’ve seen out just living my life. I’ve eavesdropped on conversations and gotten ideas. Yes, I do eavesdrop, so don’t sit near me at a dinner party. Basically, I’m like most writers I know. A story can pop out of nowhere triggered by just about anything. It’s the brain—that sucker never takes a day off.

Advice for writers: Write. Every single day. Put your butt in a seat, turn off your Wi-Fi and write. If you need background music, turn it on. If you can’t focus with music, turn it off. Find whatever it is that works for you, personally, and then do it. Every single day. Okay, I’ll let you take off Christmas (or comparable) and your birthday. But that’s it! 😉

Writing tips: This is mostly for full-timer, work-from-homers like me. Learn to say “no”.

Can I interrupt you?


You’re home anyway can you ___(fill in the blank)__?


I see you are working but can you ___(fill in the blank)…?


See, many people take ‘work for myself’ or ‘work from home’ to mean ‘only work if I feel like it’. Now sometimes I only write if I feel like it, but that’s if I’m percolating something in my brain. If that’s the case I often offer to do things. However, when I am working actively, I have learned to remind myself, my work is just as valid as if I were reporting to an office building every day. I had to learn to say no. And I’m getting the hang of it!

10 things most people don’t know about you:

I’m good at calligraphy. Not as good as I used to be. I used to get paid to do wedding invites.

The first novel I wrote (unpublished) was a mystery.

I met my husband in a bar.

My birthday dinner every year when growing up was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, succotash and monkey ball cake.

My original life plan was not to get married, not to have kids and to move to Maine. So, yeah. That plan was a bust.

I was also supposed to be an English Lit teacher in a high school. (But I also intended to be a writer. So I got 50% of that one right.)

In grade school, I once climbed a fence and ripped my underpants. Then in high school I climbed a fence and ripped my shorts. The ongoing fence feud of my life.

When I have to do mental math I throw my hands up in the air. My daughter calls this ‘asking Jesus for help’.

My favorite tree is a birch tree.

My favorite bird is the crow.

What kind of writer am I?

A crazy one! Kidding. Kind of. I’m a very dedicated writer. Too dedicated sometimes. Writing is both my job and my escape. So I tend to write a lot when I’m stressed. But because it’s my job it can sometimes stress me. So I get into a crazy cycle of using it as a coping mechanism and then it stresses me out and then I need a coping mechanism…which is writing. See, I told you, crazy 😉

A day with (you) behind the scenes.

6:30 the alarm goes off and I say bad words. Stumble out to find coffee with one eye open.

7:30 drop girl child off at school

7:35-8:30ish write/emails/hopping around online etc.

8:30 walk (plotting in my head while I do so)

9-12 varies wildly. It usually consists of errands and/or appointments. Right now my husband is undergoing his second round of Chemo so on Tuesdays that’s in this slot. Writing, emails, promos are also peppered in here whether at home or at the hospital.

12-2:30 I try and shove most of my work in this hole. When I hunker down and focus I’m a bit of a speed demon.

2:30 my daughter gets home and I get a little manic because I know my day is winding down. I catch up with her and I also fit some work in until about 3:30 or 4 when I cook dinner.

After dinner I work out. I take a shower and then usually around 6 or so I plop on the sofa with my husband, watch some TV, read a book, drink some wine or just stare off into space (heh). I do put out small work fires and check emails throughout the evening. I have a hard time ‘turning off’!

10:00 I usually force myself to turn off all devices. Then I might lie down on the sofa to “watch TV” which translates to fall asleep.

11:30 I go to bed so I can do the whole thing over again the next day.

If I’d never heard of me would I read my book?

I think so. I’m pretty sure I would…but that’s one of those scenarios that makes my head hurt. I have some pretty amazing readers. So, I guess if I heard about my work from one of *them* I’d read me!


  1. Great post!
    I stay at home as well and can relate to the whole, “Can you ___?” situation. Lol.
    The fence feud is funny. 🙂
    I’ll have to check out your books!
    I hope your husband’s health improves and his chemo will be done quickly.
    Have a happy holiday season!

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