How do you find a balance and maintain sanity with all the demands placed on modern writers? How do you find time for your creative work when there are so many demands on your time?
In an attempt to regain my own equilibrium recently, after all the excitement of the launch and the months of work leading up to it, I headed for the hills. Literally. I booked a retreat cabin at Chenrezig BuddhistEducation Centre in Eudlo. The sparkly souls living there brought meals to my cabin and left me in peace and solitude, balm for my writer’s spirit.
Just before I left I picked up a book I’d found at the library and rejected earlier as looking too much like the work I was trying to escape from: Jeff VanderMeer’s, Booklife. I flicked it open at random and found this “Always opt out in favour of your private Booklife. Nothing else is as important.”
I took it with me.
And, as much as the book details the proper use and management of the technology writers have to embrace in the 21st century, Jeff’s emphasis is always on preserving your creative life, because, as he explains, without the creative work there’s nothing to promote or talk about. He admits that finding a balance is difficult and that he too loses the plot occasionally, it’s easy to be swallowed by the internet beast, but his everyday routine puts creative work as the first priority.
I came home fully intending to do the same.
The first day I looked at my “to do” list of many pages, just for promoting, marketing and distributing Thrill Seekers alone, and wept. Then I went to the movies.
The next day I taught three tutorials at university and marked the work of sixty students. Still no writing done.
I should probably mention here that I’m also a mother. Hours each day have been spent in the kitchen. After my return I was particularly enthusiastic about providing healthy meals because for the four nights I was away my children ate only pizza. Then I had to factor in dentist appointments, soccer practice, cross country training at 7 in the morning, piano lessons, bills to pay, and a house to keep in reasonable order, or at least hygienic.
Feel like screaming yet?
And I haven’t been back a week.
How do writers do it?
How do you find a balance? How does your creative work find its place in your busy day? How do you protect that time and feed your artist self that just wants to stare out the window? Please let me know. I need all the help I can get.