Monday, August 29, 2011

Like Walking a Tightrope

I think I've officially joined the circus. At least, that's what being a writer feels like at this stage. I feel like the tightrope walker who's demonstrating their skill for the first time. I'm clinging to that tiny parasol for dear life, struggling to maintain my balance and knowing that flimsy thing won't be nearly enough to save me if I fall. Or maybe I'm the plate spinner, and I have one too many plates twirling right now. All I can do is watch them and pray none of them topple over.

What does that have to do with writing? My biggest struggle as a writer is balance. I'm having the hardest time figuring out how to balance my family, friends, a full-time job, wedding planning, networking through my blog, exercising, reading, and writing all at once. I know things will calm down after November, and I'll be able to put my wedding planning plate back on the shelf. Or break it, since I won't need it again. :P But right now, it's difficult.

I never used to have this problem. When I was younger, I didn't have so many things to do, and it was easy to find time to write. Now, I'm squeezing it in while my charges are napping, amidst checking e-mails and my blog feed, making sure there's no laundry to do, and planning tomorrow's activities so that I'm not frazzled in the mornings. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when I write, so it takes me a while to think things over and feel like I'm ready to start. But maybe I need to find a way to change that... I mean, I don't really have time to be so particular.

I'm going to spend this week trying out different daily routines. I'm going to try writing for an hour every day, at different times of day, to see what works best for me. I'm going to write in the morning, during naptime, in the evening when I get home, and any other random times I can think of. I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, when do you get your writing done? How have you achieved a balance?



  1. You've touched on one of the keys to being a happy, productive writer, J--BALANCE.

    Even when you achieve it, something comes up and throws you off again.

    The thing that helps me is just the thing you mentioned--a daily routine. Being organized. Setting aside a particular time for writing and all other aspects of living a healthy life. It takes discipline, but it's attainable.

    You can do it!

  2. My kids are teens now and I'm currently unemployed. It's going to be a huge shock when I finally manage to find a job and I've actually got to schedule my writing time. Who knows, maybe I'll be more productive!

  3. A very wise NYT Bestselling author advised me to focus on finishing a book worth selling FIRST, and then worry about seriously networking and promoting myself after.

    So I look at every opportunity to promote/network objectively and ask myself: will this cut into my writing time? If the answer is yes, then I usually skip it (with a sniffle, but I skip it). My writing time is too short and precious to waste it TALKING about writing but not DOING it.

  4. I know what you mean. I only allow myself a certain amount of time to check blogs before I write.

    And I am learning to prioritze. What needs to get done first? If you do everything that needs to be done, then the things you want to do will get done.

    Ps nice new name!

  5. Please tell me when you have the secret to balancing all of this! I really like the analogy of plate-spinner.

    As writers in this new world, we have so many responsibilities - networking through social media, updating a blog with good content, reading, and yeah that writing thing! And most of us have that job thing. Some of us even have families!

    I'm in awe of you for juggling all of that while also planning a wedding! Congrats, by the way!

    I like the idea of trying out different times of the day. I'm one of those people who achieves much more if I can just say to myself, "Okay, I write at this time of the day." Good luck finding out what time of day works for you!

  6. Even if it is only 30 mins a day...write something! And read...I know it seems hard to find the time, but even if I sneak in a chapter a day reading helps my writing so much!

    I might be blind...cause I can't find the follow button on your blog =(

  7. This is one of the hardest things for me. I think being organized will help you a lot, but I can't tell you for sure because I'm terribly unorganized :) I usually just let the house go to crap and my kids eat beans out of a can when inspiration strikes.

  8. There came a point, pre-wedding, where I just had to turn everything else off. I just had to. Nature of the beast. I'm happy to say, though, that it was all still there waiting for me when I got back. :)

  9. Hey! Swinging by from your comment on my blog. Thanks for stopping in :)

    As for your "perfectionist" way of writing - I used to be like that. I used to write a chapter, edit the crap out of it, then move on. I never finished a project that way. How did I change that? NaNoWriMo. Seriously, there is no better motivation to write than scrambling to hit that 50k word goal in 30 days. It's intense and insane, but ever since I participated two years ago, I've got two finished novels under my belt. Maybe you should check it out!

  10. Thanks for all the advice, everyone! I appreciate all the support. :)

    @Bonnie Rae: Sometimes the page doesn't load correctly, which is why the "follow" button is occasionally missing. My best advice on that is to try refreshing, or coming back later on in the day. It's kind of hit or miss at the moment.

    @Meika: I tried NaNo last year, and it was amazing! I met lots of new people, and was able to crank out a partial manuscript that I've since abandoned in favor of my rewrite. I won't be able to do NaNo this year though, since my wedding's in November. :)

  11. Aww, congrats on the wedding! I feel you on the rewrites. I'm in the midst of one myself. The NaNo people just premiered Camp NaNoWriMo, if you're interested. Basically, it's an opportunity to do the whole crazy thing any month of the year!

  12. Hello from a fellow campaigner!

    I feel the same way. I have a new baby and my toddler are just past the reliable nap stage. I've been pulling my hair out lately trying to figure out how to find writing time. I just have to trust that I'll work it out eventually. :)

  13. To point out something said above, Camp NaNoWriMo is only held in August or July to give writers who don't have the time in November the opportunity to experience the craziness. :)


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