It is hard enough in the modern age to maintain any kind of balance in life. Most of my acquaintance work 50 or more hours a week while taking care of family, housework, and trying to have some semblance of a social life on top of it. Leaving them with maybe six hours a night to sleep, assuming they can get to sleep after being so tightly wound all day.
So when you add the full-time job of writing a novel to the mix, things get out of whack very fast. I only managed it this past April because my personal demands were far less than the average. And honestly, my apartment still shows how much I let slide so I would have that spare bit of energy to write.
On a good day, I would spend a least five hours writing, in addition to eight or more hours of retail hell. Only stopping when I couldn’t raise my head enough to see what I was writing on the screen. Then I would go to bed around 10ish and wake up around 4 to start the cycle again by spending two hours at Starbucks writing before work.
As fun as the ride was during Camp NaNoWriMo last month, in the end it was not a very balanced system. Effective yes, but I am still cleaning up the mess I put off in April and the month of May is nearly over.
So the question becomes, how can you create balance in a creative life? And how can you keep the fire burning for something that takes so much time from you while giving nothing back?
I will tell you honestly that I don’t know. I am trying like hell to keep at it and not let my story slide into obscurity, but I’m not doing so hot with that. Already things are changing to the point that chunks of what I wrote last month are now irrelevant. And overcoming the feeling of futility is getting harder.
But I do know that balance is something we need to strive for. Easier said then done I know, but there it is. And someday, I hope, life will become less of a triage situation trying to decide which more desperately needs doing and more a steady flow where everything has its time and place.
Until then, pay no attention to me putting my poor battered head through a wall…