Friday, 6 July 2012

Perpetually Imbalanced

Happy Friday, everyone! Today I'm over at Dystopian Domination III, where Eva of THE LOST GIRL has answered some very cool questions, so do pop over there and have a look. Bonus: you could win bookmarks and a signed copy of the book!

I don't know about you, but I've never been one of those writers who has been able to just write. By which I mean I've never been able to devote a working day to writing, then switch off and be 'home' the rest of the evening and/or weekend. I have always had to balance writing with something else, or, more often than not, with many other things. Writing and high school. Writing and a family holiday. Writing and university. Writing and looking for a job to pay the bills. For me, it's always been a quest to find the perfect balance.

I've never found it.

These days, more often than not, it's writing and my seven-month-old creature/baby. And for the first time, writing has been losing. Seriously, in the past I was the kind of person who stared off into space during dinner with my parents (who learned to ignore that look and pretend I wasn't there until I was ready to return to the real world). Or who left a university essay to the last minute because I had one more page of my newest book that I wanted to write. Or whose husband came home, kissed me on the head, said hello and went on with his life, only to have me turn around twenty minutes later and yelp 'STEVE! When did you get home?'

Now I find that writing is the thing I normally do only after I've dealt with everything my baby needs, wants or does. Which is sad, but I don't really regret it, because he's going to be this little only so long, and I really should appreciate what he is before these moments vanish.

So, no. I have never found a balance. In fact, I've paused in writing this three times because the first time, my son crawled into a door (oops); the second, he started chewing on the dust cover of my printer (egad) and the third, he started chewing on my toe (ouch).

I wish I could say, this is how I do it and it works. I wish I had a magic trick that meant I gave everything my undivided time in perfect, even slots. I wish I could spend time with my baby without thinking 'but I have so much work to do!' or could write my book without thinking 'am I neglecting Jeremy?' I wish I wasn't often so tired that I find myself struggling to enjoy any of the things I'm trying to balance.

But I can't, unfortunately, and I don't think it's realistic to expect myself to be able to. 

I don't think true balance is possible. You can't give everything your all, every single minute of the day. You can't do everything and still enjoy all of it. You can't be perfect.

I think, instead, it's about finding a balance within the imbalance. To give yourself a break, for the love of Heathcliff. To find a way to enjoy the things I do do and not fret about the things I don't, to enjoy a little bit of every single day instead of finding everything too full and stressful, to appreciate my crawling, toe-chewing child and love the moments I have with my much-loved new book.

I'm not quite there yet. I haven't yet found the right balance within my perpetual imbalance. But I'm not far away.

Anyone struggle with the same imbalance? How do you juggle everything in your life?


  1. No, you can never find perfect balance. But I like your idea of balance within the imbalance. You can still achieve what you want. Though there will be times writing will lose. One way to help is focus on what you're doing. If you are writing, focus on and be happy for that. If you're with family/baby focus on them. That way when you do sit down to write you know you gave them your undivided attention and won't feel as guilty taking time for you.

  2. Sounds like your son is teething with all that chewing :-)

    I struggled with balance on a regular basis. I was especially bad last year when I got sucked into the blogosphere only to remember that I needed to really devote more time to my Chipmunk, reading and actually...hmmm...what's that word. Oh, yeah. Living. So I made some changes, publish fewer posts on my blog, lurk a bit more even if I don't get to comment, and get off the internet to make things happen when it is time to write.

    It's a daily give and take, but it works about as best as it can - and yeah, it's imbalanced :-)

  3. it happens. Kids are funny that way, they always come first. Keep enjoying those precious moments that seem to slip away more quickly than they should, you can figure out the writing stuff along the way.

  4. Oh for God's sake! I just typed a long comment and then it disappeared!

    Anyway, I was saying that I can see this coming my way very soon. :) Don't put too much pressure on yourself - do the best you can!