I’m a mother of three kids, wife of one husband, wrangler of two cats.
I’m also a daughter, a sister, a grand daughter, a niece.
A volunteer at the kids’ school. A friend.
And a writer.
Some days it’s damn hard to balance all these hats on just one head.
Especially the writing one.
So many people say you must put everything in your life second to your writing if you’re ever to write a book. To concentrate on the writing, 24/7, if you’re ever going to be published.
Is this really necessary? Is it even true?
I see authors like, Allison Brennan, who wrote many manuscripts before she was published, with a full time job and five – FIVE – children in tow. Who managed to finally write a book that was published, and now writes three books a year. Three. With five kids.
Just give me a moment to process that …*mind boggles*
Now, some would say these authors must have discovered that elusive work/life balance, the secret that allows them to pump out books and have a smooth family and personal life, no speed humps, no dilemmas.
They may have. I don’t know. But I’d wager they haven’t.
Life does interrupt your writing. It can be a positive interruption, something that inspires you and which you can later feed into your work. Or, more likely, it’s a sick kid, or that call to work an extra shift at job number two. Life is messy. It doesn’t run to a schedule. And there’s no secret way to balance your writing life with the rest of your life, that once revealed, allows you to sit back smugly while the rest of us muddle along getting it wrong.
Writing and living your life is a CONSTANT balancing act, down to the hour, the minute, the second, between what gets your attention and what doesn’t. And maybe what really needs your attention isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, or the thing that’s screaming loudest. Sure, you’re crappy first draft might be lying on the floor with barely a pulse and in desperate need of resuscitation, … but look around. What about your kids? Do they need you? Your better half? Have you called you mum in a while? Are you crumbling under the pressures of your “real life” job?
And YOU. Do you need you, just for a second?
So, yes, write and write, write every day … but balance every day too. Writing is important, but should not come at the sacrifice of everything else, including your health and you sanity. And understand that despite your best efforts, things sometimes will go to hell in a hand basket – and that’s OK, too.
What hats do you wear, on top of that of writer? And what’s your approach to trying to make real life and your writing life work?