Storyboarding the Writer’s Juggling Game

This morning’s post is dedicated to all those writers out there who feel like the person pictured here. Do you ever drop the ball?

If you do, pay close attention to this juggler. If this were a story board the first box would show the man juggling successfully. How easy to be a writer when all is going well. The characters are real and intriguing, the plot begs for readers and a few beautiful word darlings actually fit where you’ve put them.

In the second box, the ball falls. The writing becomes dull and just doesn’t work.  All the beauty is gone and the writer studies the words, amazed at their betrayal, and unsure what to do next.

The third box is redemptive with the juggler moving toward recovering the ball. He becomes a stick figure who has lost his confidence and his will. How did that ball slip out of my hands? But he keeps moving toward the ball. The writer reconsiders and rereads with a view to rewriting.

In the fourth box of the storyboard, the juggler actually picks up the ball again. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, the writer rewrites.

The fifth box shows the juggler moving back to the beginning to start again. And the writer feels just a little bit of the thrill as the story regains momentum.

The sixth box is a joy to draw as the juggler throws all his balls in the air, flawlessly, once again. Words flow, images appear, the story moves ahead, maybe not flawlessly but certainly well.

The seventh box…is a repeat sign. Both in juggling and in writing.

Of course, my first thought was of all the writers who juggle their writing with so many other responsibilities. I don’t even need to list them. You know what they are and who you are.

Consider leaving a comment about your own juggling game. How do you pick up the ball again, over and over?


11 thoughts on “Storyboarding the Writer’s Juggling Game

  1. Great visual and analogy, Elaine. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I’ve written consistently. For me, I need to accept that life is busy and when I’ve been away from writing, I know that it’s going to take time before words flow again, but they will. I make myself write anything and remember that rough copies are hard to look at sometimes, but revisions make it much better.


  2. Gosh Elaine, great post. My writing career is definitely a juggling game! I feel like i’m constantly behind the proverbial 8-ball with meeting deadlines, and working on projects I take on. I seem to be dropping all of my balls lately, and I’m having a hard time to pick them up! I’m keeping myself a copy of your post so I can look it over when I’m feeling overwhelmed and my “balls are on the floor”!!


    • Hi Tami
      Thanks for commenting here! I’m happy you found something to take away from this post. I never seem to be able to achieve balance in my life. Either I have way too much to do or not enough. My brain just loves to send yes messages to my lips and then I get caught. You, too?


  3. It is easy to drop the ball as I feel I am juggling at least six of them. I juggle a full-time job, a husband, aging parents, a college-aged son, my health, and writing. It’s really not too bad. *she says with a forced smile* <- referring to self in third person is okay, right?


  4. Yes! Then, I realize that balls keep falling because there are too many of them-so many unnecessary ones. So, strive to throw out the deflated, the flashes in the pan, the ones that confuse. Perhaps the most difficult part of this juggling act is NOT replacing the discarded balls.


    • When I retired from teaching I kept getting asked to pick up other people’s projects and make them my own. Though it was hard to do, I managed to practice my ‘no’ and keep my time relatively free. Then I found out what boredom was like and managed to fill my time with pursuits which, for the most part, give me joy. What I have learned is that this is a never-ending process!


  5. Hi Elaine,
    Thank you for this article. I have just gone through this process. I have so many things going and did a dumb thing. I changed the paragraph setting of my second book and it threw me all out of line. It has taken me about three weeks to finally understand that my characters were not talking because they didn’t like the changes that I had made.

    I have now redefined the order of the paragraphs to the way they were and now my characters are talking non- stop.

    Thank you for the insight.


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