Sometimes, I feel like a circus clown riding a unicycle across a tightrope while juggling fireballs and, lately, I’ve started wondering why I’ve taken on so much and what I can possibly let go. I mean, how does life get so crazy in the first place?
Then, when I consider cutting something out, I panic. I love all the projects I’ve taken on, but is it in my best interest as an artist? Would I be happy if my life wasn’t as crazy busy? Today, I would yell, “Yes!” Tomorrow, I’m not so sure.
Thinking ahead to New Year’s and all that has me wondering about (fantasizing really) finding the perfect balance. See, I’m worried that dividing my focus (librarian by day, writer by night, and mother 24/7) is draining my creative energy. But, is there anything I can do about it?
My day job is not exactly a creative endeavor and, sometimes, switching gears is difficult. All day, the characters from my book are begging to get out of my head and onto paper and I’m doling out customer service. There isn’t enough creative brain space left over while I’m at work to entertain my characters. Some days, by the time I get home, fix dinner, and shuttle my children to their various activities, I’m lucky to get 1,000 words written. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and, believe me, I’m grateful to be working. But, I need more balance, more creative time.
At first, I was sure that organization was the answer. With a little scheduling, my life could run smoothly. Only, life doesn’t fit neatly on a calendar all the time. I’ve even got a color-coded calendar. It’s so fancy it has one color for each family member that details appointments, activities, games, performances, and so on. Too bad it doesn’t come with a chauffeur and a cook.
For me, being able to sustain the same income with my writing as I do at my day job is crucial. I decided long ago that when I’m fully financially stable through writing alone, I’d leave my day job. But, I can only become a better writer by producing mass quantities of writing-which takes time-lots of time. Sigh.
So, while I’m snowed-in, I’m taking a little time to ponder my responsibilities in the hopes of bringing more balance into my life. My day job has been a life line for me, a safety net of sorts. Truth be told, I’m afraid to let it go. But, I’m to the point in my writing where I’m actually considering it. It’s either that or ship the children off to boarding school and I kind of love my busy little mess-making offspring.
After all is said and done, art is what keeps me going and I can’t imagine a life where I create less. I see a giant leap of faith looming in my immediate future and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be brave enough to just jump.
As a creative group, writers and artists are natural problem solvers. In essence, it is what we get paid to do. We’re able to navigate the choppy, uncertain waters of conflict and emotion and to set a course of action for our protagonists. So, I’m sure I’ll figure things out…eventually.
Have you ever felt as though you lead a double or triple life and what do you do to maintain your creative balance?