Monday, November 16, 2009

Blog Chain - Priorities

I'm going to start this chain by apologizing. My first ever turn starting the blog chain is late. Beyond late really. I had NO idea everyone would trust me to pick a topic so soon! I'm flattered--and--hyperventilating.

I've had the most hetic two weeks I can remember. I've been working on my NaNo project, critting, revising and worrying. I've been out of town, helping friends and counting down the days until my daughter comes home for Thanskgiving break. I've been battling my husband for the right to pay attention to my laptop and trying to clean my hopelessly disgusting house.

So in the spirit of hectic lives everywhere I'd like to know:

How do you prioritize? How do you balance paying attention to your writing, critiquing for friends, spending time with your family and earning a living?

Since volleyball has ended, I find that I have more free time. And yet, there never seems to be enough. I start my day by getting my family ready for theirs. A quick drive to school and then home. I take care of our birds (chickens, duck and geese) making sure everyone is fed. Next I check my email. Then my blog roll, and after I've finished reading and commenting (I read more than I comment) I hit the WIP. Then I do a load or two of laundry, field a few phone calls, avert several crisis, and hit the WIP some more. THEN I wash some dishes, mop, sweep and dust, check my email (again) and read manuscripts for friends and crit partners. Then I head to the bus stop, start dinner, check my email (again), fold clothes, and serve up dinner. After that, I wash dishes, another load of clothes, check my email (yes, again) and finish up some crits. I work on the WIP during stolen moments and then fall in to bed--exhausted.

Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it.

We happened to see 2012 this weekend, and John Cusak's character happens to be a struggling writer who's lost his family in pursuit of his dreams. My husband gave me many pointed stares and a couple of nudges. His children said, "You promised you wouldn't work on your book this weekend." Ya. Seriously.

It's hard to find balance when you feel so empassioned about what you're doing. I get wrapped up in crits. I become obsessed with finishing a chapter. I write in between bites of food. And yes, I forget blog posts after an emotionally trying weekend and busy Monday. I've been trying. I spend less time on my computer than I did. I try to set aside chunks of time for each task. I no longer linger on Facebook or Twitter. And I blog less than I would like. I listen to my son's stories about his day. I spend time watching TV with my husband. I don't take my laptop when we go out of town (okay, I'm still working on that one) and I try not to write after five o'clock in the evening.

That's not to say that I don't want to. That's not to imply that the urge to plunk down a paragraph or two isn't killing me in the after-dinner hours. But balance is important. Family is important. There are still bills to be paid, mail to be checked, clothes to be folded and kids to pick up. I'm working toward regaining the balance I had before I was overcome with the constant need to write. Every. Single. Day. And as you can tell--since my first ever blog chain post is coming at 9:15 at night--that I'm taking baby steps. One at time.

Check out Sandra's post tomorrow, who was gracious enough to give me a little nudge. Thanks for the subtle reminder, Sandra. ;)


Sandra said...

No problem, Mandy. And yes, I know what it's like to have to balance life and writing!

christine said...

Man, I totally hear ya!!! But more on that on Friday - when I have to post.

Eric said...

Awesome topic. And way more timely than I want to admit. I think you and I could compete for who has the busier life though :) Nice job.

Kat Harris said...

It's hard to find balance when you feel so empassioned about what you're doing.

You said it!

Great topic.

ElanaJ said...

Finding the balance is very hard. My laptop just died, which means I can't sit at the kitchen table with my kids or on the couch with my son. And it's awful, how attached to the computer I am. I think I've found the balance though. I do most of what I do when my family is asleep. Sure, I lose sleep, but they don't lose me.

B.J. Anderson said...

Ugh, balance. We all need it, but it's so hard to find. My problem is getting enough sleep, which I've really been working on. Sigh. I'll talk more about this when it's my turn for topic. Great post, and I hope you find some time to relax in there somewhere!

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I like this topic and love your answer. I think it's something we all struggle with. Day jobs and family and friends and outside obligations and, oh yeah, actually having a social life. It's tough. I try to write every day, but I know that's just not feasible. So instead I carved out writing times that are set in stone. Then I carve out time for friends and taking care of chores. Everything else gets fit in around that. I crit when I can. I'm not always successful (I promise I'll finish soon, Cole!) but I know that the writers I'm critting for are facing the same time problems as me, so we're all in the same boat.

Suzyhayze said...

What I find fascinating about all of us crazy writers is the imposed necessity of it.

We HAVE to write. It takes over... and yet... from an outsiders perspective... it seems very easy to put off.

Hmmmmm. You got me thinking here. And you know how dangerous that is.

I think this is a fantastic post. I'd like to see some of this impassioned writing on this blog! Give us taste? ;)

Cole Gibsen said...

Ha Ha! No worries, Shaun :)

Mandy - Great topic. One that I've often struggled through myself, but like Christine said, more on that when it's my turn :D

Suzette Saxton said...

It's funny BJ mentions sleep...

My entire adult life, I've never gone to bed before midnight. Well, this week I decided to buck up, grow up, and get to sleep at a decent hour.

Last night was my third night to fall asleep at 11... and at 12:04 a massive, unexpected meteor flew over my state and lit everything up as bright as day. A once-in-a-lifetime meteor. And I totally missed it! (My son saw it - it freaked him out!)

About balance... urg. Toughie. I don't think our lives will ever be as tidy as they were before we wrote. Good for you for keeping close with your fam. That's what counts!

Sarah Bromley said...

Hee hee. I've had to think about this a lot lately. Great topic!

Bethany Wiggins said...

Balance is all about choosing what you are willing to sacrifice. For me it is sleep. I try to do all my creative writing at night when everyone is asleep. Otherwise I sacrifice things I am not willing to give up... like time with my little ones, a clean house, exercise, time with my husband. And there's never enough time in the day to get it all done. And I can live with that.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Great blog! I found my way over here from A Blurred History and I'm so glad I did!

Great topic - when I figure out the whole balance issue I'll be sure to pass it along! :)

Michelle McLean said...

awesome topic! and soooo perfect for my life right now :D