An admitted writing addict, there’s nothing more I like to do more than rise from bed at 4:00 in the morning, brew a cup of coffee, and relax back in my recliner, laptop across my knees. I can write for 12 hours straight without a break (except for that second hot cup).
In truth, I can write for 16 hours straight, oblivious to the passing time. I have no particular desire to eat, shower, cook, do housework, enjoy the sunshine, go to movies, or communicate with friends, family, or spouse. My husband comes home from work and I’m still in my pajamas. I haven’t moved. He thinks I’m in a coma.
In truth, I’ve been extraordinarily busy. I’ve had a tumultuous and exhausting day battling the soulless. I’ve lost loyal companions, my sword arm weighs a ton, the city is in flames, and the future of human civilization hinges on my next choice. I need to unearth the enemy’s fatal flaw before time runs dry and the world descends into chaos. With all this responsibility, who has time for laundry?
He rolls his eyes when I tell him I need a maid…and a cook.
Well, this real world of friends, family, and chores only has so much patience for my writing addiction. I know with utter certainty that I don’t want to wake up one morning and find that all I have left in my life resides inside my head. Therefore, the need for balance.
Careful what you wish for…you just might get it.
My daughter graced me with a grandchild. I now spend two full days a week with a drum-obsessed overlord. Almost-two-year-olds are more exhausting than the soulless (though much cuter).
- Big energy is trying to run a mega pipeline through my little town’s drinking water supply. As a writer and advocate for my community’s viability, I’ve become an activist fighting the oppressive, polluting robber barons.
- The overlord commented on the spider webs in my living room. You can always rely on a child for the painful truth. He says it’s “spooky.”
- Over the past two years, the yard has morphed into a prehistoric jungle. I can’t see my patio. I have two months until the overlord’s second birthday party to get it into a less mortifying state.
- I’ve started blogging and following blogs and making friends all over the world that I genuinely care about. Now, that’s a little too much fun and I can’t stop.
My initial reaction to the onset of balance was a troubling case of writing withdrawal: shakiness, irritability, insomnia, and hives. I found myself dropping things, burning dinner, taking naps, and – believe it or not – vacuuming. I had shameful relapses, like allowing the overlord to watch cartoons while I polish up some dialog on the laptop.
Five months later, I’m pleased to announce a gradual adjustment. The urge to write all day every day continues to invade my consciousness, but I’m working the program. A sense of balance is taking hold, and I’m settling into a new blend of busy-ness that makes room for more of the chaos and joys of life. The overlord and I have been spending more time at the park, building and smashing sand castles.
How do you maintain balance when the story calls? I’d love to hear your secrets.