Finding the write-life balance

It’s very unlikely that a writer is going to make a living by writing. So then the question is: how do you balance work, life, and writing? If you find out, please tell me.

Kelly Link

I echo Kelly Link’s sentiments in the above quote. How do you balance it all? The last fortnight I have found it very difficult. Miss 1 had a viral throat infection. Mr 3 then got the cough, then so did I. Miss 1 had decided that she would only sleep next to Mummy and not in her own bed, so I got even less sleep. Hubby finally came home after a month away on a training course to a house full of sickies and a wife barely managing to feed everyone. The house… well, the house was a complete mess.

I give myself allowance for this. I was exhausted, with two young children to look after by myself. The cleaner I employ to come once a fortnight (to keep me sane!) couldn’t come this month. Also, I started a new job part time, my first ‘real’ employment since Mr 3 was born (apparently motherhood doesn’t count. It should). Starting a job was exciting, and scary, and it took up way more of my time than I realised. Suddenly, I was juggling everything with the skill of a drunken performing monkey who knows she just has to make it to the end of the song and someone will hopefully bring her a banana…

Keeping house was not high on my agenda. Keeping everyone alive was. But the house was not the only victim.

I only wrote 300 words this fortnight on my WIP. A few weeks ago I decided to scrap a 1,600 -word scene – equal to about 4 hours’ work for me, or a big session – and I just couldn’t get to writing again. The kids wouldn’t let me write, even little notes on my tablet, when I was watching them during the day. Then the kids wouldn’t let me write on the computer in my study or my tablet in bed when they were supposed to be sleeping at night, because they didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to be sleeping. And finally, to be honest, my brain wouldn’t let me write when I was just so tired out from daily life.

Not writing felt awful. I felt like I was missing something relaxing, fun and creative in my life. I’m not an exerciser, that go-to endorphin-producing happy hobby. I love to read, I love to daydream, and I love to write. This past fortnight I really needed an outlet for me, to be myself, to produce something for the sake of producing it and nothing else. I admit I didn’t start a new book because I felt guilty about not doing my own writing and thought I would feel inadequate reading another author’s work. I admit I watched a few TV episodes instead, with my headphones on, next to sleeping Miss 1. And I admit that I felt guilty doing even that because I wasn’t writing.

But eventually hubby came home, and suddenly that extra pair of hands made the load so much easier. I was finally able to breathe, literally and figuratively. And I am settling back into a routine of work, life, and writing.

I shouldn’t have felt guilty. I feel guilty about things too much. It’s a problem of mine. I’m working on it. What I know is true is that it’s important to find what balance you can, to find time for yourself any way that you can, whenever, wherever and however you can. It may not be perfect, it may be less than satisfying, but you have to start with something and you have to give yourself that break time.

Make your own banana.

Woman juggling apples. Image from Pixabay.
Image by author unknown.

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