This post is about writing, but it is also about being a parent. Being a parent is all about balancing – sometimes physically (two hands are never enough), and sometimes with regard to how much time you spend doing certain things. I never appreciated before how difficult it would be.
About 5 years ago, I had a goal of writing for at least 10 hours a week. I fitted this in around everything else I needed/wanted to do, and most importantly, I stuck to it more often than not, and for quite a long time. Gradually, though, this began to slip for some reason, until it just wasn’t happening any more (is writers block still a thing? If so, then that’s what I’ll call it). So I started this blog (read more about why here), and suddenly I was writing again – firstly just blog posts, then I went back to the novel I had been working on for quite some time previously. The blog was working – hooray! I enjoyed writing posts as much as my works of fiction. Who would have thought writing about your own writing, and about other peoples, could be so therapeutic, so inspiring?
(Well, I did – it was why I started the blog. Perhaps deep down I didn’t think it would work as well as it did).
And then I became pregnant, and that along with preparing for the new baby completely took over. There was no balance. I don’t write full time – it doesn’t pay the bills/buy baby clothes, sadly. So I let writing go for a while, a fact which I accepted and didn’t accept at the same time. When the baby comes and things settle down a bit I’ll start again, I told myself. I had every intention of finding again the balance I once had; fitting in a little bit of everything I need and want to do.
But then I blinked and it was her first birthday. Not sure what happened there. Not only had I not written a thing, I had barely read anything either (readers block…?). In the year before she was born, I read 34 books. In her first year of life I read 9. Well, 8 really – one was a novella. To me this was totally unacceptable!
So, how to find more balance? How do I say no to something so I can say yes to reading/writing? There probably isn’t an answer to that, but what I have now realised is its amazing how time can be found if you really look for it. I’ve started reading on my lunch break at work (books that is, rather than mindless crap online). I set aside half an hour on an evening for writing or doing something else creative if I don’t feel inspired to write, rather than watching TV (or just staring blankly into space for 30 minutes, which has been known to happen on occasion).
The result? I have read 9 books already this year, completed a few craft projects for our new house, written some Twitter Fiction (yet to be published – watch this space), and with the help of my husband, got this blog back online. At the beginning of the year I set up a reading chair next to my bookcase – this now has dual purpose, as it’s also a great spot for writing. I’m well aware I don’t have all the answers, and balance has to be worked at, especially when your hobby is writing and you could so easily just not do it when there are a million other things you need/want to do. Yes, the ironing pile is so high it could cause a fatal accident if it topples. But as I sit here in my creased clothes, writing away, I can safely say it’s worth it.