Balancing a Writing Life

How do most writers balance their lives? This has been a constantly changing and evolving issue for me.

 Ideally I would love to be able to write when I want to and then fit in everything else around that.

 Realistically I have the real world to deal with. Day to day things as mundane as a roof over my head, food to eat and enough money to maintain myself have to take a priority. Daily living takes up a lot of time and energy.

 Then there are the other people in our lives. They have to be a priority as well. We need others to live healthy lives. There are obligations to relationships that need to be taken care of.

 Throw in other interests and some fun time and life gets complicated and busy.

 I know some people are good at making a strict schedule and sticking to it. I’m not that kind of person. I need flexibility and freedom. I don’t want every minute of my life planned. Where is the fun and freedom of just going with it? But before I know it I find that my time, energy and focus get stretched too far and wide. Then my writing gets pushed to the side for later.

 I’m getting better at prioritizing but sometimes life throws things at you that can’t be avoided. Frustration enters. Resentment enters. I’m getting better at recognizing those feelings as signs that I need to get my priorities straight. Sometimes I have to just ride it out.

 So, how do other writers balance their lives? Is there a happy medium? What advice can other writers offer here?

 

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12 thoughts on “Balancing a Writing Life

  1. Alison D. says:

    No advice at the moment, only commiseration. I have never had a huge amount of success at writing when I have other big things going on in my life (work, relationships, etc). I guess my only words of questionable wisdom would be to not give up and to cut yourself a break when it doesn’t work out.

  2. Rob says:

    Hmm, well, setting a schedule is hard and sticking to it can be even harder, however, you should always set aside a little time, each week, regardless of how busy you are. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it should be there, somewhere, in your weekly routine. It doesn’t have to be a large chunk of time either, just enough to put pen to paper and transfer thoughts into words.

    There’s also a second option, which works well for me.

    I tend to leave my laptop up and running, even when I’m making dinner or cleaning, watching TV or reading a good book. Sometimes, right in the middle of these simple tasks or activities, I’ll get inspired. The next thing I know, I’m whipping up a few more lines of text or adding a new detail to a minor character or tweaking a plot point. I guess I feel like anytime–even a few minutes here and there–is better than no time at all.

  3. Having a mini-voice recorder in your pocket at all times can be a lifesaver when a laptop isn’t available. I also find a notebook at the side of the bed handy for those late night inspirational thought.

  4. I’ve tried the mini-voice recorder and it’s not for me. But I used to have a notebook on the nightstand so I will put one there again. Thank you.

  5. I’m a full-time stay at home mum and for me I have learnt to just use the time when my child is at school to put in as much writing as I can because the moment the family is home, they are my top priority. So it’s snatches of time that I manage to put in between the housework and family time. Inspiration seems to hit at odd times so I keep notebooks around and jot down ideas to work on later. Happy writing Sherrie! Sharon

  6. Life is complicated – I find I do my best writing to deadline (for the paper I work for) and for this blog I set myself challenges — but I am not the queen of balance yet — it is a precarious thing this thing we call writing

  7. erinjsimpson says:

    I also find that keeping a notebook with me at all times is really helpful. I’ll be sitting at my desk during work and continually jot down story ideas and inspirations. But trying to find enough time to fit it all in can be such a challenge. For me, it’s a relief to hear that other people find it just as challenging as I do!

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