Anyone who does anything besides write novels knows that there is a huge part of an author's life that no one really tells you about.
It's called balance.
And it's incredibly difficult to achieve, especially if you're like me and are balance-challenged. I'm more on the pit bull side of "balance" where I sink my teeth into something and don't let go until either I'm dead or the other dog is dead or I've gotten what I wanted.
So yeah. Not so great for the whole balance thing.
I could make a list of the four kagillion things I have to do everyday, from household responsibilities to parenting to teaching to writing to church obligations. I'm sure you have a list ten miles long too. (And if you don't, I sort of hate you a little. And you know by "hate" I just mean "am extremely jealous of" and/or "love".)
How does one balance it all? The cooking dinner with the edits? The book signings with the family time? The church responsibilities with the job responsibilities with the family responsibilities? And the TV! Dude, the TV.
Here are some things I do that help me achieve a semblance of balance.
1. DVR. Seriously. Some of you may not watch TV, but I do. And it's nice to know I can just record and watch whenever.
2. Google Cal. A lifesaver. I can put all events on that thing, and it syncs to both my son's and my husband's phones. Then we can coordinate who's going to take whom where and when.
3. Strict bedtimes. This allows me to work after the kids go to bed. Then I don't feel like I'm neglecting them.
4. Make a list. I'm a huge fan of lists (really? Just like this one!), and sometimes I even put things on my list that I've already done, simply so I can feel the joy of crossing them off. I make a ginormous list, and prioritize what needs to be done that very day and what can wait until another day.
5. A dedicated day for chores. Every Monday, I clean my whole house and do all my laundry. This frees me from worrying/thinking about cleaning the other 6 days a week. (Of course, I still sweep up spilled cereal and wash the dishes and other stuff that has to be done every day.)
6. Layering activities over "dead time." When my daughter has dance, I make sure to write/edit during that time. When she has swimming, I bring my pages. Any dead time is used. I no longer just wait for my son to show up. I read or comment on blogs. I tweet in line at the post office. I am always working while I wait for my kids or while they're at their activities. That way, when they're home, so am I.
7. Sacrifice. When you have forty billion things going on all the time, something has to be sacrificed. Sometimes it's my writing time. Sometimes it's family time. Sometimes it's making dinner. I try really hard to juggle these things around, so that a different thing is being sacrificed each time. So I'm not always choosing writing over going to a baseball game. I'm not always editing over making dinner. I'm not always blogging over going out with my husband.
But no matter what, it always comes down to sacrifice. Weaving writing into life is a delicate balancing act, and it's always tough.
How do you work toward balance? What is in your rotation of sacrifices?