The plan: spend all weekend finishing a copyedit for a client's book, and get caught up on queries from the open submission period in August.
The reality: spend all night Friday moving my belongings out of my room, which was in the process of being flooded. (For the fifth time since December, by the way. Because of the roof that our landlord refuses to fix. Much like he refused to turn on the heat in December until we threatened to withhold rent.) So, like yesterday, today will mostly be spent on documenting and throwing away the waterlogged books and papers, then multiple trips to the laundromat to rid my clothes and bedding of the disturbingly brown water that came through the roof. Then trying to clean the room. Which will most likely flood again next week, so really a Sisyphean endeavor at best.
(I did read and respond to more than 100 queries last night, by the way, so the night wasn't a total wash.)
Why am I telling you this? Because sometimes - a lot of the time, frankly - new writers seem to think that an agent's job is a 24/7 occupation. That we should be reading queries and partials to the exclusion of all else in our lives. That we should not have outside hobbies. That we should not blog or Twitter. That we should not write our OWN books. (Quite a few agents I know are successful authors.) That we should not see movies or read books for fun. That we should not have husbands or wives or kids or pets or personal lives. That we should not take sick days or personal days or vacation time. That we should not work other jobs in order to be able to pay the rent while we try to build up a client list for a career that does not include a salary or health benefits. That we should not take time off when we have a personal emergency like, say, your roof opening up and dumping gallons of rainwater on your head.
Well, guess what? An agent's job is just that: a job. One that s/he is really only obligated to spend 40 hours a week on. But the reality is that for most agents, 40 hours a week working on agenting is considered a part-time job. Most of us - myself included - spend about 70-80 hours a week doing our job. And unless we are lucky enough to have an employed spouse or partner, we also work other jobs to pay the rent. (My good friend and agent colleague Diana Fox has an excellent blog post about this, by the way. You should read it.)
Somewhere in there we need to find time to do things that the rest of you may take for granted: do the laundry, buying groceries, paying our bills, taking the pets to the vet, going to the doctor, seeing friends and family, and - yes - move books and furniture out of a flooded bedroom.
The fact is? Real life - friends, family, pets, one's own mental and physical well-being - always comes first. As it should for everyone, no matter what your occupation.
Just so we're clear.