Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Musings—Juggling Life And Writing



Seems like whenever I get a good writing streak going, something in life pops up that needs my attention. Stat. I don’t know about the rest of you, but this past fall and winter seemed to bring one thing after another.

Still I did manage to participate in NaNo. I was about 12,000-words short but I feel good about participating. NaNo writing was an experiment in writing a sub genre I hadn’t tried before. I learned a lot. I also have some major editing to make it viable, but that’s okay because it’s a story I want to tell and so I’ll get back to it. The characters there are content to rest a bit since I put them through hell. Me too.


I’m back working on a story that is moving along well, if slooooow. Why is it slow? Because things and people (life issues) won’t leave me alone. If it isn’t kid problems, it’s extended family problems, or health. All of which zap me emotionally, overwork my energizer bunny batteries, and suck my creative spark somewhere into the cosmos. The good thing is, the characters in this story aren’t quiet. They bellow at me in dreams, creep into my thoughts when I’m doing chores, or simply sitting still with a nice cup of coffee. They whisper to me when I’m reading the pile of books I have assigned to me for review. They’re relentless.


Despite life’s chaos, I manage to meet the deadlines of the blog and scheduling. Sometimes it’s by the skin of my teeth and from time to time my creativity is at low ebb, but I get it done. I’ve dealt with deadlines of some sort or another all my working life. I don’t fail to meet them. It’s a matter of professional commitment. I keep my commitments and don’t believe in doing something half-assed. My blog reflects that.


Don’t get me wrong, I love my blog and I’ve had, and will continue to have, some wonderful guests. Most of them are so much fun.


Poor little bunny is a bit worn and pale
Where it gets tough is when you’re juggling so many balls in the air, and your energizer bunny looks for someone who is less maintenance, it gets tough to get back to writing. If I had a deadline for them to be done I’d find a way to do it, as I always have. Having a goal and having a deadline are two different things (no matter what I tell myself). When something has to give, I tend to prioritize and let go of things lower on the list. Consequently, my story is taking much longer to finish.

One of the things I've learned to do is carve out little bits and pieces of time and usually in the early morning when I’m fresh. If I’ve had a hard day, forget it. Writing isn’t smooth or as much fun as it usually is. Smooth, quantity, and fun require energy, and my poor little energizer bunny is just plumb worn out by the end of the day. I do keep a small notebook in my purse so when I hear whispers or shouts, I can jot down scenes and dialogs, or, at the very least, notes so as not to forget the epiphany when it hits me.


How do you juggle life and writing? Any special tricks you've learned to apply?






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20 comments:

Tonya Kappes said...

I definitely have to juggle writing with a family of six (two legged kind) and three four-legged ones, plus a full-time job. Oh...and four teenage boys in all year round sports=writing can be tough! I have to write when I can, in the car, at games, in the morning before work, late at night when everyone is in bed. It's exhausting, but I love it and wouldn't get it done if I didn't have that can do attitude:)

Jo said...

I wish you the best in all this juggling. Even writing a blog one sometimes has to juggle, it must be worse trying to write a book. Glenda Larke has often posted pictures of herself in very odd places with a laptop writing away while she has a few minutes.

katsheridan said...

Sia, kudos to you for the successful judging and for always having the blog here! I'm the world's worst juggler, but I still keep tossing those balls, hoping they don't land on my head!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Kat, I keep an ice pack and a bottle of aspirin, just in case. lol!

Laurie C. said...

Once in a while, Sia, you need to let all those balls fall and be kind to yourself. Not all the time ... just once in a while.

ptbertram said...

I wish I had a few tricks up my sleeves. Mostly I just roll up my sleeves (in the hope that a trick will fall out) and concentrate on the most important balls. The ones that are not crucial, such as working on my WIP, drop by the wayside.

VA said...

No help here. I'm a cyclical compulsive. Balance is a feat I can rarely pull off.

Talli Roland said...

I'm really lucky that I'm a full-time writer, so I do have time to write. I'm in awe of people who juggle so much and manage to write, too.

(PS - thank you for your wonderful blog comment today! So informative and useful!)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Talli, you're welcome. You had a great post today!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Pat, I tried the whole pull up the sleeves thing. There is really nothing there, dammit, no tricks.

I grab pieces of time as I can.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Laurie, I do. There are times I simply disappear for a bit and go read a book I want to read, not have to read. If I don't balance out frenetic activity with quiet time, I can get really, really cranky.

Hubs has learned to let me retreat and guards the the door for me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I write best in the evening, so I've learned to take a little time for me - usually some guitar playing - to calm the day's anxieties and put it all in perspective. After that, I'm good to go.
And sorry I don't get over here as often as I'd like, Sia. Another one of those balancing things - trying to balance so many blogger buddies!

~Sia McKye~ said...

No apologies needed Alex. We have enough commitments in life as it is and this isn't one of them. I always appreciate your visits when you can get here.

Music does soothe me too.

Creative writing seems to work best in the early morning and anything to do with articles, reviews, or blog stuff works the best in the evening.

Elle J Rossi said...

Sometimes I just plain force it, Sia. And usually I'm happy I did. Even if what I write is the best, I can usually find one or two nuggets to work with. Lately I've taken a bit of a break after finishing the 2nd draft of my NaNo story. I wanted/needed to spend time with family. Now it's time for the final draft and I feel the characters surrounding me. They want to be released, have their story told. It's important to get this one out there!

Houston A.W. Knight said...

Yes, I do just like you...the dog gets me up in the wee hours for his first walk...when we get back I put hubby and dog back to bed and that's when me day starts...I work until hubby gets up and we then start a normal day (if he's home) and I then cut in time throughout the day to get in writing whenever I can - (if he's working) I spend most of the day writing (on blog and or book)...only taking breaks to walk and feed the dog.

After dinner I Crit for a few hours for my writing partners and then I hit the sack for a few hours before me day starts again.

Fun hummmm???
Hugs
Hawk

Helen Ginger said...

I have no tricks to share. I seem to have so many distractions that writing has been pushed back on the list of things that have to be done. But I do hope you continue to go forward since you're now my role model.

Marilyn Brant said...

Sia, I struggle with trying to stay balanced all the time and haven't yet figured out how to keep everything going simultaneously... One thing that's helped me, though, is to try to hide out in a room that no one is in (preferably late at night, when the house is quiet) and just write down story ideas or career-related plans by hand. I feel more grounded when I've had some calm time to think of what I'd like to do and why...even if I'm not able to get done everything on my list ;).

Elle Strauss said...

Juggling life and writing is an age-old question. I think it has to do with seasons of life as well, some seasons are much busier than others.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Oh my lord, Helen, me? Role model? lol! I thought growing up and leaving home let me escape from being a role model.

I hear you on distractions and such. I hope you continue forward too. Cheering you on!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Marilyn, to be honest, I don't think anyone has THE answer. I suppose it's what works for you. Balancing everything is a pain in the a$$ but I agree on the need for a quiet space away from everyone just to get my bearings and recharge.