My point is life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the coloda.
– Ellen Degeneres
How do I manage a demanding career, family life, and find time to write? Balance.
Sometimes the balance is beautiful like a New York ballerina en pointe in Swan Lake. She is perfect and poised despite the bruised and battered feat beneath the satin of her shoes. Other times, I feel eight years old again, on stage at my dance recital and fumbling through the dances while trying to follow along with my instructor, stage left, hidden behind the curtain. The key is to find the things and people which help you find your balance when you start missing the steps.
What’s my schedule like? I wake up at seven, hit the snooze alarm at least once, then rush to shower, dress, and get to work by eight. Most days are filled with some sort of court as I’m responsible for cases of all types, from juvenile truancy cases to adult murder cases. When I’m not in court, I’m either in my office catching up on paperwork, preparing cases, taking phone calls, or at another court covering other places because we are under staffed. If I’m lucky I’m done by 4:30. Once I get home, I write and post my blog, check my twitter, watch some sort of television while my husband cooks dinner and we eat. I then write some if my brain isn’t exhausted from work. Spend quality time with my hubby and try to get to sleep by 11:00 p.m.. Every other weekend, I spend time with my step-kids, writing when they are asleep. The off weekends of that, I play Friday Night Magic with my hubby, run and/or play in a table top role- playing game. Oh, and write in between my full schedule.
Notice I didn’t mention cleaning house? The intricate dance of my life would fall apart if not for my husband. He’s a disabled Air Force Veteran and an amazing house husband. I am recovering from an injury and couldn’t clean house even if I had more time. He has his own injuries which limits his abilities, but he does the best he can. We are a team and through all the struggle, we get through together. I would never be able to achieve what I achieve without his love, dedication, and support.
On a side notes: I can’t stress the importance of a calendar enough. You have to organize your schedule. I keep a meticulous calendar, both paper and digital, with reminders set, and I am making it my goal to always find time to write. If you want something bad enough, you find the time.
The moments I find myself floundering, are the days I come home from work barely able to walk. I have a serious spine injury that gives me good days and bad days. On the bad days, I go home and collapse on my bed. Still I write on my phone even if I have to do it lying down.
Sometimes, I do the worst thing anyone can do when I feel like I’m slacking off my schedule; I blame myself for not keeping up with everything. I have to remind myself that no one is one hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time. I’ll usually end up crying into the nape of my husband’s neck until salt crust my eyes. Then, my husband will make me smile and remind me I am doing the best I can, I have achieved amazing thing and will go on to achieve even more. I take deep breath, rest my body and soul, and charge forward with a new day dawning.
You have to, HAVE to, make time for play. Breaks from your craft allow your mind to rejuvenate and you’ll be a better writer for the choice. I recently, towards the end of last year, got into something I’ve been putting off for years. Cosplay. I enjoy portraying my take on different characters and creating my own original characters. Taking moments for other things in your life opens up your creative pathways, sometimes in unexpected ways.
My point is even when you find balance, you will fall. The important thing is to to remember to soak your aching feet, tie your satin shoes tight, get back up, and dance.