Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Balancing Writing and Life: My Take

I have been reading quite a few blogs of late on balancing your life as a writer with a full-time job and a family.  There have been many good suggestions out there.  It is ironic that this has been on so many minds. It seemed like messages meant just for me.  I don’t usually get personal on my blog so while I want to share some of the lessons I’ve picked up along the way, it still feels awkward.

In case you noticed I have not blogged in over a week.  This is part of my balancing act, at the moment. 

One of the things I have learned over the years is that, as a woman, you can have it all…just not at the same time.   Life is about choices, large and small.  I did not really start to write until my children were older. How many woman or man can relate to that?  That was not so much a conscious decision not to write but a decision to focus on my young family and a full-time job.  Would it have been better if I had started ten or fifteen years earlier?  Perhaps. But I shall never know and I do not live my life looking back.

I am well north of forty. Although, I tell people I am thirty-five in my head, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Who says fiction is just on paper (or e-reader screen). So as my children have aged, so has my father.  My mother passed ten years ago.  My father suffers from emphysema, the consequence of sixty years of smoking.  This past week he had an episode that required hospitalization. As the only child available, my husband and I have to jump in.  He’s fine but it has added running to stores, hospitals, checking on his place, bringing in his mail to the day.  You know the drill.  And so I have not blogged, work on the new novel, Ogham Court, is slow, and I have not been hanging out as much with my tweeps at #pubwrite.

But that’s okay. This is a marathon, not a sprint.  When I was younger I would have beat myself up; pushed to keep to my normal routine and self-imposed deadlines.  Now I cut myself the necessary slack.  I cannot stop writing.  It’s my drug of choice.  But I am more patient with myself and life.  Sometimes shit happens and you have to deal with it.  Then you get back on that horse and ride off into the sunset where the vampires wait. They don’t age…just like me.

It’s all about balance in the long-run, but some weeks the scales are tipped.  Next week, next month they will right themselves.  Sometimes it is not about balance but juggling.  If you have stuff going on that keeps you from your passion, be patient with yourself and  take care of the important stuff.  But most of all, stick with it.