Balancing Life and Writing (or how not to do it)

balance

Work/life balance. It’s the goal we strive toward – the Stanley cup at the end of a season – yet sometimes, it seems more of an urban myth. Has anyone ever achieved the fabled work/life balance? How do you obtain something so challenging when you add a time consuming activity like writing into the mix? Good question. Let me know when you have the answer!

In all seriousness, this is a topic I struggle with at the best of times. How to juggle a busy job with kids, house chores, animals, friends, a husband, reading, and down time (not in order of importance of course!) and then adding writing on top of it all? For me personally, it’s a matter of compromise. I focus on the area of my life that demands attention most, but generally that means another aspect ends up suffering – then I focus on the area that suffered and the cycle goes on… and on. Is it perfect? Hell no. But then again, what in life truly is? It’s an ever evolving process, and one I’m constantly tweaking.

over and over

If I were to use one word to describe my writing process, I’d probably use the word “sporadic”. Over the past few years, I noticed my writing settled into a basic pattern. During the fall and winter I write like heck (because it’s cold, miserable, and hurts to breathe outside), and come summer time I start revising, since work at the clinic amps up and the kids demand more of my time with outdoor activities (since it’s not dark at 5pm anymore!) which makes the process of drafting harder for me. I work best when on a deadline. No excuses, just get down and get ‘er done. (Which is why I’m forever grateful to PitchWars and Nanowrimo, my revising and drafting incentives)

So do I have it all figured out? Not yet. Maybe someday. For now, I’ll just keep hacking away to find little moments where I can work on my passion in the hopes that one day I can share it with the world. Until then, I’ll be curled up in a cozy corner of my couch on cold, wintry days typing away to my heart’s content – or revising in a swath of sunlight with a cool iced tea on sweltering summer days (and always surrounded by my unruly but loving brood).

booklet

 

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2 thoughts on “Balancing Life and Writing (or how not to do it)

  1. I thought I had it all figured out recently. My children are in bed by 7pm and I tend to shut down around 10pm so over 7 days I have approximately 21 hours waking time to myself which in theory sounds great doesn’t it? Nope nope nope. Adding into that I need to do odd jobs and chores, go to the gym, spend time with my cats and husband it’s probably around 13-14 hours. That’s roughly 2 full working days if I looked at my spare time as a job. Then taking into account food breaks, toilet trips, stretching legs and minor distractions (messaging people) it’s realistically about 10 hours.

    There are so many days I’d love to just write at lunch time and spend the whole afternoon going through the priority list but it can only happen after 7pm and it’s very frustrating like you say. I find the key to staying focused is to think 200 words written in a session is better than sitting on the sofa doing nothing. Eventually the word count piles up and then the sense of achievement kicks in. Hope you are able to pour more time into it then I can.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love how you look at it, and I agree! It’s how I finished my first and second book — just a few words when I could squeeze in the time, and more when I had larger chunks of availability. But it is hard, and it does take dedication — good thing it’s something we love doing!

    Like

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