Thursday, February 14, 2008

Balance

Most of us are writing newbies, and as such we have Day Jobs. Which is really not all that unusual for writers, new or experienced. Now for a Death Pixie, the Day Job can be anything from the traditional 9-to-5 to Mom Extraodinaire, but it's still Not Writing.  It can be incredibly difficult to balance one's need to write with the myriad of other responsibilities that pull us in half a million directions at once.
I recently attended a Franklin Covey 7-Habits workshop, and one of the things that is emphasized is to put first things first, i.e. do what is important and most in line with your mission, roles, and goals.  I find this a very good habit, however, I've noticed something about myself that is . . . interesting.  
Writing for me is a personal thing.  Because it's fun, it feels frivolous - a hobby, a game, an interesting pastime.  Writing means I am ignoring my family/friends/cat.  And subconsciously, this means it is Unimportant.  Coupled with this subconscious downplaying are the hundred other things I should be doing.  Some of the shoulds are important: exercise, feeding myself, interacting with others, the Day Job.  Some of them aren't, like finding new restaurants & redecorating the house.  The end result is that I get less writing done than I'd like, a lot of the time.
I do believe that my writing is important.  It is very much a part of my personal mission and goals.  Spending time writing is not frivolous or wasteful.  But I still struggle with keeping it at the top of my priorities list.
How do you strike a balance with all of your shoulds? What techniques do you employ to ensure that you reach your goals, both with your writing and in the rest of your life?


3 comments:

Laura Bradley Rede said...

This is the biggest issue in my life right now: balancing motherhood and writing. For parents, I would recommend reading "Mamaphonic," an anthology about being both a mother and an artist, edited by Bee Lavender and Maia Rossini. I have many more thoughts on this issue, but I can't write them right now because I have to pay attention to my kids! :)

Nola J Moore said...

Yes - stories don't scream as loud as kids do. At least most of the time. . . :)

I had an interesting conversation with a new mom friend of mine about the balancing act. We decided that she's actually a better mom _because_ she has many facets to her life. Her son benefits from the fact that she is not define solely as "Martin's mom" - she is so much bigger than that. Plus, she lives above the ebb and tide of "my child's reputation is my reputation" and can truly let him be his own person.

Just a bit of encouragement for my mom friends!

Jason Sollom said...

Yeah, if you find a way to make it all balance, let me know. This is the first time I have made serious time to read this blog. I thought that after grad. school was over and the nursery was ready and the baby arrived that my life might settle down a little bit. Strangely, that's not the case. I work 7-3, try to squeak in writing for an hour before I have to pick my daughter up from daycare, and then I'm daddy, husband, maintenance provider for the house, someone who occassionally likes to read a good book, and every so often goofs off. But man, my time seems stretched thin. Gotta go. My wife is calling.