Breaking Busy with Alli Worthington {an Author Interview}

book review author interview

In January 2016, a friend of Blissfully Domestic wrote her first book. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to interview Alli Worthington and discover the in’s and out’s of how Breaking Busy went from paper to publication. I’m happy to know Alli Worthington as a personal friend, and I’m excited to introduce her and her new book, Breaking Busy, to you.

I had so much fun reading Breaking Busy. It reads as if you are sitting in a coffee shop, with Alli, and enjoying each others company and conversation. The way Breaking Busy is written is so conversational…it’s just like having the best talk between girlfriends.

Without further ado, Alli Worthington, ladies, and gentlemen. {My questions/comments are in bold.}

What made you want to write Breaking Busy?
I wanted to help other women get off the “hamster wheel” of frazzled living. I lived for too long with the burden of a busy calendar that sucked the life out of me and I hoped to share what I learned with others.

We all spend so much time consumed with our busy schedules that we live on the edge of burnout. I reached a point in my life that I realized my crazy busy schedule was killing me. I knew I had to start breaking busy before the busy broke me!

Amen, sister!

Is there a certain someone that inspired you most, as you wrote Breaking Busy?
As I wrote, I kept an image in my mind of the woman who will read it. She is a woman who wants to be her best and live a great life. She probably grew up like I did watching women in her family take care of everyone else to the detriment of themselves. She is working harder and harder at home, with her work, with her obligations, than ever before but feeling more and more drained in the process. The woman who was doing an amazing job being all things to all people, but was frustrated and secretly feeling like she is letting everyone down, that is who inspired me most as I wrote.

I was excited to remind her that society gives us a message that we have to do more, be more, achieve more and that we never are quite good enough. We aren’t meant to live that way. Life doesn’t have to be this hard and we don’t have to live on the edge of burnout.

Breaking Busy is a permission slip to take care of yourself and hop off that “hamster wheel” of crazy busy.

What book(s) have you read that have especially helped your writing?
The best book on writing was a book called, Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay. This book challenged me that if I was going to tell my stories, I better be brave enough to write with vulnerability.

I know you’re a mom to FIVE boys, how in the world did you find the time to be a wife, a mom, a friend, and everything in-between to write a book?
I was forced to discipline myself and compartmentalize my time. Because I work full time I only had my weekends to focus on writing. For six months I locked myself away in my master bedroom and wrote all day on Saturdays, sometimes I wrote a little on Sunday afternoons, and I edited during the week.

My husband and five sons were so gracious during those six months. Because we all had to sacrifice time so I could write, we all feel as if the book is a family project.

What’s the hardest thing about writing for you?
All of it was hard for me. Breaking Busy is a mixture of stories from my life and very practical hands-on help for living the life we are created to live. The writing process was about as enjoyable as punching myself in the nose repeatedly. I’m jealous of any author that says the content was inspired and flowed magically. I wrestled with every chapter- how to share my stories in a fun and meaningful way while providing really helpful tools the reader can use to live life in a more meaningful way.
Writing with honesty about your own life, your mistakes and lessons requires so much vulnerability. It’s much like walking in a crowded naked and saying, “Here I am world.” The whole process requires a crazy amount of courage.

What do you wish you knew before you started writing Breaking Busy?
I had no idea how many people it takes to bring a book to the world. I was so humbled by all the help I needed. Ha! I’m so used to throwing words online with abandon. The process of creating a book that is hopefully timeless, and will help people for years to come, was all new. My editors lovingly and firmly let me know when my jokes would offend people, when my stories rambled a little too long and thank goodness they fixed my grammar. 🙂

What do your friends say about your new book? Have they been encouraging?
The best part of my friends reading the book is to hear them say, “This sounds just like our conversations.” Many of them walked with me through the stories in the book so they all love to relieve our shared memories. It’s been a blast!

Some of our readers know you from BlissDom. Besides writing Breaking Busy, what have you been doing lately? Is there somewhere else we may find you, now that BlissDom is [sadly] a thing of the past?
I now serve as Executive Director of Propel Women. I joke often that this is my first ‘real’ job. Always being an entrepreneur, I had to brush up my skill set to lead a big team. And I still carve out time to speak at business and church events.

People ask me all the time if I miss BlissDom. My answer is always ‘every day’. In the back of Breaking Busy, I wrote out all the hundreds of names of everyone who poured into BlissDom through the years, from speakers to the volunteers, because I believe it was, and still is, the best community of women. Lifelong friendships were formed, businesses began and so much good came from the BlissDom community. I love my #BlissDomFamily.

Which chapter was the most fun to write?
The traditions chapter was a blast. It is my anthem of giving ourselves grace to not live up to whatever notion of perfect we have in our minds. My favorite part of the chapter is this “I tell you, I thought I had it all together until I got on Pinterest. As it turns out, I am a slug for a mom. I’ll never have buns or abs of steel. I can’t braid my hair in a fishtail-bun-upswept-messy-updo. Can’t paint the map from the Hobbit on my fingernails. Will never decorate with mason jars. And I don’t know how to make a single thing from an old wooden pallet.”

I believe traditions don’t have to be expectations. Once we give ourselves permission to drop (or not pick up) the traditions that don’t suit us in our season of life we can let go of a lot of guilt and feelings of obligation. I want us all to live in a world where we are cool with each other’s capacity levels and give each other grace.

author interview book review

For our readers who don’t know your fun, bubbly personality in real life, which chapter would you say best describes you?
I share a story in the communication chapter about how because I wanted a friend to like me, I literally lied to her that I liked a type of movie that I really hated. So I went to movies I hated for two years. I’m more of a Disney girl than a twisted psychological mystery girl. My friend loved dark arthouse movies and I pretended to and wasted so much of my precious time trying to enjoy something that sucked the joy out of me.

That story is just so me. I want happy and fun, I don’t want dark and scary movies, but in this case, I want to be liked. I believed that to be liked I had to change myself. I wanted to ‘be good enough’ and had to learn the hard way to be who I am and trust that I am already enough.

I believe so much of our busyness in life is caused by the deep worry that we aren’t enough at the core. It causes us to try to be all things to all people.

Thank you, Alli, for Breaking Busy. We, at Blissfully Domestic, wish you continued success in your fabulous book!

Avatar About Melissa Hillier

Melissa lives in Florida with her husband and five kiddos. She writes about her family life at jonahbonah. When she isn’t chasing children you can find her behind her sewing machine or her camera. Connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

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