It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, or a rocket scientist, or a stay at home mom, we all struggle with finding the right balance in our lives. We want to “find our passion”, but it often seems to elude us. We rob Peter to pay Paul, and then rob Paul to pay Peter back (Peter has a big stick and might come after you).
So, is there really any balance? I believe there is. My circle may look a little lop-sided from time to time, and just like you, I struggle with keeping it all going in a forward motion. To do that, I sometimes have to stand still, while at others, I have to look back. Sound strange? Well, I’ve always believed that you have to be able to have 360 degree vision to really stay on track. My thinking is that this way I’ll at least see some of the blindsides before they get to me so I can duck.
Doesn’t always work, but most of the time it does. Besides, when you stop and look around when you’re stuck, or unsure, of the next move, it gives your brain a chance to rest and consider the options. When you look to the sides, you are able to see if there’s a way around an obstacle, and when you look behind you, you might see something you’ve missed along the way, so you can go back and retrieve it.
Because I’m still working on the final edits for In The Spirit Of Love – yep, thought I’d have them done by last weekend, but here I still am, I keep relating my life to my edits. This whole writing and publishing thing is so new to me, I keep discovering new ways of doing things, and not doing them. When I finished the edits last week, I thought ‘I’m done!” I was sooo relieved. Then after my second congratulatory drink, my husband said, “Are you going to read it through one more time to make sure you haven’t missed anything?” I immediately answered, “NO!”. I was done. I was finished with this manuscript. I wasn’t looking back. I was going to email it to my publisher, Echelon Press, first thing in the morning and be done with it.
Then I started thinking, I’ve been so anxious to get this editing thing over with, and it’s taken me far longer than I imagined, that I was right to move forward, right? But what if I’ve missed something? So I stopped. I realized I’d put so much effort into this “baby”, that I owed it to myself, my publisher and the manuscript, to do all I could to help it stand on it’s own. Heaving a sigh, the next morning I sat down at the computer and began re-reading the story from the beginning – aloud. I’d once read that if you read printed words out loud, you’ll discover errors in syntax, punctuation, or just plain errors.
Well whadya know? I’m finding quite a few more than I’d thought I would. In reading aloud, I’m realizing some of the lines just don’t sound right. Because I’m having to slow down (I read very fast) and really focus on what’s actually written in front of me, I’m discovering errors I hadn’t picked up on before.
So what does this have to do with life and finding balance? It occurs to me that, just like in book editing, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself, is this the best I can do? Am I missing something? Have I taken on too much, or not enough, to really maximize my potential in my job, my role as a person, as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, etc. Am I doing what matters to me, or am I just doing?
Like 98% of writers, I have to work at another job, because my writing hasn’t given me the life of excitement, money and ease I dream of. It doesn’t pay my bills – yet. Things are pretty tough for us financially right now, but I have my eye to the future and I’m not giving up. I’ve taken on a new job that’s very demanding, but exciting in it’s own right. Because I’m new at it, the learning curve is huge. Just like the learning curve I’m experiencing as a writer. I’m up at 6am to start my day, because I can’t sleep past that ungodly hour (to me it’s ungodly). My brain starts stirring and won’t let me rest. I have things to do, I have things to write, I have a life to live. I definitely feel overwhelmed sometimes – and I haven’t even gotten to the real marketing of the book part yet! I still have a husband, family (even grown children and grandchildren deserve my time – and are part of how I want to spend my time), household chores, etc..
So, like you, I struggle. Every day. But I’m doing what matters to me. I’m working hard at getting it right and loving the process of living. I guess I’m constantly editing my life. I lean too much in one direction, then have to re-adjust so I don’t topple over. My circle of balance isn’t perfect, it’s a little wobbly, but I’m working with it.