In the balance

Balance — a topic near and dear not just to every writer’s heart, or anyone who has a day job and a creative pursuit, or any person with a family and a job and interests of her own — well, okay, that probably includes all of us. Yes, it’s time to talk about how I balance everything I have to do: wife, mother, daughter, freelance worker, writer, blogger, friend, person . . .

Short answer: I haven’t a clue.

Longer answer: I believe in dynamic balance, not static balance. Static balance is a house of cards (yes, I mean this as a literal example), while dynamic balance is tightrope walking. If I try for static balance, any time something changes, I’m going to be knocked for a loop. On the other hand, if I’m moving and adjusting as I go for the current conditions, I have a chance to make it across to the other side. Except, of course, in life you don’t just do three performances nightly. You’re always on.

I can’t do it all. Maybe some people can, but I’m not one of them. Right now, I’m up to my ears in commitments. I’m indexing a text on Heidegger. I have a proofreading job coming in next week, and another the week after that. I’m negotiating for a copyediting job. I’m writing my epic fantasy for Camp NaNo, and when I have a few moments free, I’m working on editing a paranormal romance to put up for sale. I’ve got short stories that I should finish and start submitting at some point this year, but they’re so far on the back burner — no, let’s face it, I took them off the back burner and shoved them into the freezer.

So I have to try to prioritize. Family comes first — for example, even with all the freelance work on my plate, I’m taking Monday off to help out at my son’s end-of-year picnic. If there’s a work deadline, often that’s next up, though I’m trying to make sure to make time for the writing anyway.

The simple truth is, if I want to have things finished and up for sale, available for people to read, I have to write. It’s easy to let that slip, whether because of work or lack of sleep or other commitments. The trick is, it never goes away entirely, and things do get done. Just not all at once.

Balance is over time, ever changing, and often feels out of reach.

What about you? How do you balance the calls on your time?

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Balancing writing with the rest of life”– June’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonanno. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on crossing genre lines, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

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  1. I fall over a lot.

    I love your distinction between static and dynamic balance. I am forever readjusting: sometimes work projects rear their heads and demand extra time; tennis classes and league went away for March, leaving me with more free time for writing; later in June I’ll go to a two-week novel workshop that required major shifts in my writing plans for a couple months once I learned I was accepted. I set annual goals, but within that I try to leave it flexible so I can adjust as needed.

    • Extra time to write! But, yes, lots of shifting and rearranging there. Enjoy the workshop. (And I hear you on the falling over.)

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. Balance…what is that? 😉 It’s tough and for many writers their writing gets shoved to the back (or in the freezer) if they’re not careful. The blogs, the social media, trying to market…and that’s not even including family, housework (another foreign word), etc. I like your example of tightrope walking. I just hope a stiff breeze doesn’t come up. 😀

    • Yeah, for me, family comes first and earning money for bills is next, then writing — so sometimes it doesn’t happen. It’s usually higher in priority than housework, though I do get laundry done.

      Good luck avoiding the breezes! 😀

  3. I joined Camp Nano June so I would be pressured to post my daily word count and have “cabin mates” to cheer me on. That’s how I roll. I need to finish the first draft of a sequel, no matter what else I’m doing this summer (teaching, hanging with family, gardening). Good luck with finding your balance! Everyone seems to do it their own, unique way.

    • Accountability — yes, I’ve used that as a motivating force myself. 🙂

      Good luck with your sequel and your balance!

  4. Pingback: If it’s Tuesday, this still must be France | Erin M. Hartshorn

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