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Thursday
May272010

Finding Balance

 


A few weeks ago, when I was amidst my muse-on-fire, 12k-words-in-5-days phase, my husband looked at me and said "I'm kind of jealous of your writing."

 

*sigh*

It had been a particularly writerly day because I'd had my RWA meeting that morning, which means he was on kiddo duty for a couple of hours, and we were coming off a week where I really had been buried in my laptop.  So of course I felt awful.

My husband works long hours and travels a lot, so I definitely don't want to waste the little time that I have with him with my head in my story.  But at the same time, this also means I get very little child-free time, so it's tempting to sneak in some writing when I have daddy here to help out.

But in the end, I decided to back off on writing in the evening time.  I also am going to get a bit of relief because the kiddo started part-time daycare last week, so I'll get three mornings a week to myself (although, a good bit of that will be spent on housework, bleh.)

So the question I have for you is--how do you find the balance?  Until you're paid for it, most people (even the most supportive family members) will see writing as a hobby.  However, in order to succeed at it, you have to treat it with the dedication you would give to a career.  My husband is my biggest cheerleader, but I guarantee he's happier when I tell him I spent the morning cleaning out a closet than when I announce I wrote 3000 words.

So have any of you found the secret?  How do you focus on your writing without falling into the cave?  How do your loved ones view your writing?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Everything to Everyone" - Everclear
(player in sidebar, take a listen)


 

Reader Comments (33)

I was never very good at combining a day job and writing. So retiring from the Very Important Organization was a big help in writing that novel o' mine. Now I'm spending a lot of time writing for dollars online, so my balance is out of whack. I haven't sacrificed quality time with the kids yet. Get too much of it, in fact. That may have to change if I get past the taking-notes stage of my WIP and get down to the writing part.

Also, I can't believe there aren't 30 comments ahead of me, as is usually the case!

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTravener

I don't have children and don't plan on having children, so I have plenty of time to devote to writing. My husband is inordinately proud of me, and gives me all the time and support I could ask for.

I know this doesn't help one squatting bit. Sorry. :-)

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

I can so relate. My hubby is amazingly supportive - as long as it doesn't interfere with his time. Like your husband, mine works LONG hours and really, I cherish the evenings we have just hanging out. I cram in some writing time in the morning before I drop my stepdaughter off at school, on my lunch hour at the day job, and for an hour or two after he goes to bed...if I'm not being needy. I put a small desk in our bedroom so if I toss and turn the muse awake, he has a place to write. My hubby sleeps right through the clicking of my keyboard.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDawn

Wait... There is such a thing as balance??? I don't believe it. I think its a mythical creature, like a Unicorn. ;)

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia

Yeah, I've soooo been there. I have 3 kids ( ages 2-6) and one on the way, so balance is ALWAYS a challenge. I try to write in the mornings when one is at school and the other two play nice because they aren't tired and cranky yet. Some days it doesn't happen. And some days I only write 100 words.

I don't write in the evenings. My husband doesn't work crazy long hours or anything, (although he does go out of town a lot) but when he's home I want to be with him. The only exception is when I have a deadline, and then I still try to work it out so I have a few hours after I've finished for the day.

Honestly I let the house go first. The kids, my husband and my writing are just higher on the list (unless we have company coming.) :)

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

This is a struggle for all of us, I think. For me, it changes daily. Different things rise to the the surface as the priority, and I just take it one day at a time. When you have a full-time job, writing must come behind that. There simply are not enough hours in the day to devote equal time to both. But I'd like to think that no effort is wasted. If I'm at work and I'm getting inspiration or thinking about a WIP, then I feel like I'm doing the best I can to juggle it all.

Marissa

Hello Roni! Good question. My family treated my writing as a bit of an amateur hobby, almost a slight anomoly - until I got my first pay cheque for a magazine article. After that the dissenters went a little silent! As for balance - oh I struggle. I am still looking for the secret as well!

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJayne

I haven't found a balance yet, but it's probably less of a struggle for me. I'm lucky in that I'm not married and don't have kids yet, so that frees up a little more time, but I do have a very busy job. However, and I'll probably get fired for it someday, I do most of my writing at work (hey, the boss doen't need to know that what I'm typing isn't an important e-mail) and the local Panera Bread. For some reason, I absolutely cannot write at home. Too many distractions.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterj.leigh.bailey

I've always written, just not books. I thought perhaps my writing was a guilty pleasure and I needed to focus instead on my husband and three kids (3-8).

One day my husband decided to start training for his lifelong dream, to complete an Iron Man race. I put 100% of my free time into supporting his goal. I was miserable. My dreams were getting caught up in the day-to-day of wife and mom and in my husband's dream. I had had it!

I woke in January this year and thought, enough is enough. It's time for me to start writing. I've since written two books and I'm on my third.

I have a little luxury of 4 hours in the day with kids at school and 3 hours after everyone goes to sleep, but starting in August I won't have so much time. I'll have two dropoffs and three pick ups thanks to half day kinder and a preschool 20 miles away from home.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia A. Timms

It's always a WIP to find the right balance. I work full time in addition to being a mother and a wife, and it's hard. But I'm not going to take 15 years off until I have more time.

The key for me is to have a supportive husband. Mr. Sierra does not complain that I open the laptop with regularity each night. And he often does the dishes without asking. If he were less supportive, I don't know how well I could sustain the drive.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSierra Godfrey

I really struggle with this too. Don't have the hubby and kids but have the full-time job and a live-in, cranky 84-year-old mom who wants her share of "face time." I finally said "From 9 p.m. onward is my time." I go to my study, close the door, and write till midnight. That's all the time I have. (And if I'm working on a publisher's deadline, it starts at 8 instead of 9!)

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I haven't found that balance yet, Roni, but I HAVE heard my hubby tell me he's jealous of my writing time. Guilt is a powerful and unpleasant emotion. Let me know if you find the perfect solution. :-)

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShannon O'Donnell

No set balance for me. My day job pays the bills, so it takes precedence over everything. Lots of overtime there.

My kids usually don't fuss at me too much when I skip cooking to write - they like frozen pizzas and hot pockets better than overcooked steak and veges. Go figure.

Sometimes they have to come first though, and they do things like your hubby did. They show their jealousy, or loudly complain. I only have the one under 18 in the house, so he's the one that sets the "balance" for me.

As for the other two; I tell them to get a job and move out!

......dhole

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Hole

I have not found a balance yet, either. I've tried writing during the day when the oldest two kids are at school, but my toddler usually gets into a lot of trouble if I ignore her too long. So that leaves nights after everyone is in bed. Then I'm very sleepy, so I get distracted on Twitter.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I'm still struggling to find time, because teaching responsibilities and my graduate work take up a lot of time to the point that sometimes I'm lucky if I get more than 5 hours of sleep a night. So I try not to be too hard on myself if I can't write every day, because it just isn't always possible for me.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNeurotic Workaholic

I work full time, have three kids, and my husband and I work opposing shifts (I teach in the day/He works graveyards). So balancing doesn't even begin to describe it. Since I'm not getting paid for it yet, I write when I can and set little goals for myself. It has worked for me so far. Now my first manuscript is finished and it's getting harder. Queries, submissions, working on the second book, building a following. . . *gasp* it's crazy. I just try to do some part of it every day even if it only lasts for twenty minutes.
It's the best I can do. :-)

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWrite Chick

My husband just bought me a netbook last night. He's been real supportive. I'm lucky. Still I have carpal tunnel and am involved in other things. And, there's more to writing than writing. I carve out time slots.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterM Pax

Hey, Roni! (Sorry, it's been awhile. I got WAY behind in my reader.)

Well, I'm horrible at balance -- at juggling my "real job" and my writing.

As you know, I didn't disclose to my family that I started writing again. (Lately, though... there's nothing to tell, since I haven't written in six weeks.)

Sometimes I think if I explained it to hubs he would understand and be supportive and maybe even encouraging, but then I hold back because I'm weird and secretive.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmber Tidd Murphy

All I do is sleep, so I'm no help.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina Lynn

I admit, I don't have problems like that-just school, which is, you know, the bane of my existence. But usually I squeeze it into my free time, so I usually have a few hours to work on it.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

Right, M Pax, there's a lot more to writing than writing. Balance? What is that? But it is dreadfully hard if you've got scenarios scattering around in your head and you're not in a position to snatch them and put them into words.

My husband tries to be supportive but can't help hovering at the wrong time! I think most husbands are that bit jealous of anything that comes between them and you.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterL'Aussie

All spouces want our undivided attention when they aren't doing something. Balance is tough. With my husband, he knows how important it is, yet we still try to make sure that we spend time together and with the kids. We don't always succeed, so then it's back to the scale for a redistribution of weight.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRaShelle

I haven't gotten the balance thing down. My husband is pretty understanding (and will occasionally take the kids when a creative moment strikes), but I can tell he still thinks of it as my "hobby" not my "job" because I haven't gotten paid yet. Whatevs :P

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth

That's sweet he's supportive..rather than..every sentence he's saying..'are you writing about me??'.

I'd suggest a little at a time. And yet, I can find myself wanting to write for hours and hours. But I've always felt writing more like a mini break from housework or homework. Those moments writing in bed before sleep. I wonder if I'm the only person who's ever had ink stains in their bed? Well, I don't write in bed anymore..in notebooks, but I do like to be on my laptop in bed. Sometimes.

While other people need to smoke or take a breather, I'm wanting to write something, instead.

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermisty

I haven't found the balance yet either.
I don't have kids, but I have a goddaughter and niece who I love to spend time with. And then there are friends and family wanting to spend time with me too. I have to carry a noteboook and pen to write things down so, when I do get to write, I don't forget anything.

Saying that, I like to write either when the house is empty, or at night. I don't know why, but the dark helps. :)

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