The Chocolatier's Wife &
The hardest challenge I have ever faced as a writer is balancing life and writing.
There is not enough time to do everything you want -- for years I felt like my sword fighting self (I practice historical swordsmanship) and writing self were two different people, each vying for attention, each vying for a slice of time between work and chores and collapse time.
Neither of them have ever won. Neither of them ever will. Some weeks the fencer girl will get more time -- maybe there is a championship to prepare for, or a class to develop, or just the need for sword time. She is the keeper of the body and the analytic mind, and I need her, just as much as I need the writer. Through
fencing I improve and maintain my body, and I keep the chess playing part of my brain sharp. And it’s my number one way of socializing outside of work. Number one. That suggests there are other ways. Ha ha. Nope. The hermit part of me would riot.
I want to tell you that I have found a secret, a way of having it all. I can’t -- I still feel like my life is a roller coaster of crazy. Sometimes I am safely buckled into the car, sometimes I am running, flailing and screaming like Captain Jack Sparrow, down the tracks and trying to keep from being run over. But I can tell you that it is possible to feel like you are doing all right by following some easy steps.
1. Make time, because your writing is worth it. Everyone says you can make time every day. Sometimes I think that is highly optimistic of them. I really do believe that people write better on a schedule, and if that’s you – if the writing HABIT is important to maintain, try and find a couple of days a week where you have one hour that is all yours. Those you never skip. Because if you skip for a good reason, it’s easy to skip for a bad one.
Then, if you can squeeze in ten minutes, twenty, a couple of hours on the other days, that’s bonus. That’s pat yourself on the back and feel awesome time. I am a big believer in making goals that one can meet and exceeding them, rather than shooting too high and feeling cruddy. (Shooting a little high is good, though.)
2. You will fail. Know this. There will be weeks where you will have to take the kids to practice, where you will hate writing and everything, be planning a wedding or other major life event. That’s OK. So many people let themselves feel like crap over things and then they get guilty and ignore it and then it becomes easier and easier to just not come back.
Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself and come back to the table.
3. It is hard work but it is always worth it.
So that’s my not really very helpful but maybe somewhat comforting advice on balancing things. What do you think? What goals do you have that you are trying to squeeze in between life things?