Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Is writing the most important thing?

I’ve been struggling with my writing lately. It’s not that I’m blocked on a story or can’t figure out what to write next. It’s the time thing, and all the other pressures that pull me in too many directions at once.

I have a demanding day job, one that requires a lot of my time and creative energies. I can’t quit it. We need the money. And in any case, I like the job. But it doesn’t always leave me with much juice left over at the end of the day.

And there are other things. My husband and kids want some of my time. So do my friends. They’re all very important to me and keeping those relationships healthy takes time and work.

That leaves a few late-night hours a day generally for writing. And sometimes a few more on the weekends. I’m a night owl so late-night writing doesn’t bother me, but I have to get up fairly early in the morning and lack of sleep does.

I’m not a fast writer at the best of times, so my output is slow. I’m not happy about that. But I don’t know how to rework the balance of things to change it.

Does anyone else have this problem?


N.J.Walters said...

I hear you. If anyone has figured out how to balance life and writing, I'd be happy to hear how you did it.

My situation is a bit different. I left the day job to write, but now I spend all my time either writing or taking care of the millions of details that go with being a writer. If I'm not working, I feel like I should be because I left my day job to do this.

As a result, I don't do much else but work, eat and sleep. In between, I find time for my hubby and family.

Finding balance is something I struggle with constantly, but haven't figured out yet.

J L said...

I'm lucky: I have no kids (and yes, I count that a blessing because I never wanted kids) and my husband is as involved with his 'outside work' (photography) as I am with writing. So I have several hours a day that I can devote to writing.

Friends do take time -- there's no doubt about that. I meet a writing friend once a week and other friends -- well, we meet when we can. We try to get together every other week, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.

This month I had to make 2 out-of-town trips for family for a total of 1200 miles in 5 days. That took a lot of time and energy, but I used it wisely by dictating my story as I drove (not a hard thing to do because it's mostly 4-lane divided highway).

The thing I promised myself when I started to Seriously Write was that I would make time every day for it. Barring death or injury, I would sit down for an hour a day and focus on my WIP. That would keep me going until I had a bigger block of time. Like you, I work full-time but I get in early (5 a.m.) and leave early (3 p.m.) to carve out that time for my writing. I'm glad to have outside work because I think it gives me a nice balance with writing and friends.

My solution: I don't let it worry me. I do what I can and if I can't get to something, then it probably wasn't important. I have my priority lists and I do those things. If something falls off the list, then that's okay. I trust my ability to prioritize.

My father had a rule that he used to judge the importance of things: "How many people will die if this doesn't get done?"

If the answer is "none" then you can allocate a priority to it and decide on its importance. Figure out where it fits in the scheme of things and get to it when you can.

Mechele Armstrong said...

It is hard. I have that problem. Writing is part time for right now and sometimes the balance is hard. I'm not a fast writer. I try and be a steady writer. If I can't write 5 K at a sitting, I try to sit and do 1 K every time I sit. And do that constantly over a week. You aren't the only one with the problem.

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you. The Clark Kent job sometimes sucks all the life out of me, but on days when my head is above water, I do enjoy it. And, frankly, the average full-time writer's income is nowhere near enough for me to maintain my current lifestyle.

TJ Michaels said...

Girl, I'm paddling in the boat right along with you. But what makes it tougher is that I'm a single parent and don't have ANYONE to help me do anything. And I mean nuthin', girl. No family in this state and no friends. So it's just me, my kids and my job. And writing often has to take a back seat.

So in the end, we do what we can and go on feeling good about ourselves that we've accomplished what we have. So many people want to write or plan to write, but we've actually done it in spite of all the other 'stuff' we have to handle in our lives.

So we may not get to do all the things we want, but we have accomplished what very few have!

As for balance? What's that?

*smooches* TJ