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Monday, August 20, 2012

Balance


You would think that a person whose astrological sign is Libra would have balance in her life. Not so. The scales are always tipping one way then the other for me. Now, I have no problem seeing both sides of an argument. Finding the pros and cons of an idea or project comes fairly easy. Some might call that fence sitting. I call it exploring all options. It’s balancing life itself that’s difficult.

Last week, I wrote about the dedication and perseverance Olympic athletes must have to compete with the world’s best. Dedication to the exclusion of everything else. When asked what he’s going to do now that he’s retired from Olympic competition, Michael Phelps said he’s going to try to have a normal life. So, what’s a normal life?

Balance between family, career, health, interests, play.

Writers can easily lose themselves in their story. Literally hours can go by without notice. That’s when the Muse is behaving, of course. Creating a story is not a pick-up/put-down job. It’s not something you can do for half an hour before moving on to another job. For most people, that is. I’ve heard of authors who can write anywhere, anytime, in short bursts. Most writers can’t turn on and off the creative juices like a faucet. How I wish it were that easy. When I start my writing day, I need to reread what I’ve written last to get back into the story before I can move forward. Not all of what was previously written, of course, just the last scene or chapter, maybe. Only then can I pick up where I left off. When the story is going well, I don’t want to stop.
 
Anyone who read my post last January about setting goals knows my photos are in boxes. I had great plans this year to organize them and put them into albums. I even worked out a plan of action. The photos are still in boxes. Finishing Switched, Too took precedence. Then, marketing the book after it was published. In the meantime, writing the next book in the series. Then . . . It’s so easy—make that too easy—to keep going once started. Writers who have full time jobs and families don’t have that luxury. They sacrifice more than hobbies to carve out time to write. Like sleep.

I’ve mentioned before that Hubs “drags” me to the fitness club almost every morning. If he didn’t, I’m sure I wouldn’t get any exercise. I know I need it to stay healthy. But when I’m in the middle of a project . . .

For several years, my life revolved around my children and their activities. Now that they’re grown and gone, it’s just Hubs and I. When the children and grandchildren visit, I can set everything else aside. No problem. But in the day-to-day routine, Hubs gets the short end of the stick. My contemporaries will agree that retirement is an adjustment. For both parties. I’m fortunate that he has activities he enjoys (read, keeps him busy). He enjoys working in the yard. My flower beds have never looked better and we’re enjoying his tomatoes, cukes and beans. He enjoys woodworking, making furniture and toys for the grandkiddies. But that’s not enough. He actually wants me to do things with him—which, after nearly forty years, is rather nice. Fortunately, we both like movies. Since retirement, we have seen more first-run movies than in all the previous years we’ve been together combined. He likes to go for drives—with company. Leaving my story at a critical juncture is difficult. Yet, turning down the invitation seems, well, unkind. “Sorry, guy, but my characters are more important.” Not.


What I need is a schedule. Make writing an eight-hour a day job, including all the email and social media aspects. Make time for hobbies I once enjoyed (like photography, gardening and quilting). Make time for exercise. Take time to play. More importantly, make time for the man who is still the love of my life.



How do you find balance?


On Wednesday (8/22), I'll be over at Nancy Jardine's blog, She said, he said. I hope you'll stop by. Then, on Thursday (8/23), come on back here and meet my guest Oklahoma author Alicia Dean.

16 comments:

  1. Diane,

    We can all identify with trying to find balance. As of yet, I haven't done such a great job of it. On a recent trip, I took pen and paper for in thecar, laptop for the hotel and really got a lot of writing done. Grandkids here today. You know how that goes, but I love it!

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  2. I do know. Wouldn't miss those times with grandkids.

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  3. Diane, you are so right about our "balance" getting out of balance when we are grabbed by the writing muse. At other times I find I'm "out of balance" when the non-writing activities of life take over, and all I really want is to get back to the computer. It's a daily struggle.

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  4. It's so fun trying to juggle all those very important balls...Hubs, grandkids, gardening, pets, cleaning....
    I'll probably never find the balance either but I keep trying. : )
    Have a wonderful day!

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    1. I guess the important thing is to keep trying.

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  5. Even in my limited writing life I find I'd rather be writing fiction than advertising. Thank God for Florence Price who has taken on quite a bit of responsibility about the advertising end of the job.

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    1. Hiring a Virtual Assistant, like Florence, does take a big burden off the writer. I'm still too much of a control freak to give up some aspects of my career--and on a tight budget. But, you're right, Rohn, writing fiction is much easier than selling it.

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  6. Good post--I recently had to run away from my computer for 5 days just to get some rest! I thought I would make a schedule when I cam home but so far I haven't done so..book 2 of my trilogy came back from Createspace needing to be reread and edited one more time...

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    1. Good luck with that schedule and with editing your book. What's the name of your trilogy?

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  7. I have trouble fitting in the things I love to do. So like you, I have to schedule them. I sew with a group of women every Tuesday. I scrapbook with another group once a month (sometimes more). I make music with a group on Monday nights. So my non-writing hours are pretty well scheduled. Making time for those areas of my life still leaves me plenty of time for the writing. Now I just need to use that time wisely.

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    1. Group meetings "force" us to make time to do the things we enjoy. Using time wisely isn't easy.

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  8. Balance is always tough. Day job, housekeeper, husband, children. Writing always seems to be the obligation that is most easily dropped. But that affects the employee, the house cleaning, the wife, the mother. My solution? Stop cleaning the house. :)

    May you be blessed with balance, Diane!

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    1. I like your solution--stop cleaning house. Gotta have priorities. :)

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  9. I like the stop cleaning house option, too. Oh wait, I think I already did that! It is so hard to find the balance and give everything and one the attention they deserve. But at least the house doesn't complain when ignored.
    Here's to balance in our lives and an extra hour in the day to write.

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  10. You're right. The house doesn't complain. LOL An extra hour to write? Sounds great.

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