Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Juggling - a lifetime skill

Many of my writer friends are younger than I am. That means they juggle a job, home and family obligations before they can sit down and write. Their writing time is precious to them because they have to carve it out of a staggering menu of Things That Must Be Done. 

Up until a few months ago, I was still working. Working at home, not in an office, but working nevertheless. If I wasn't at my computer I was attending a meeting or an open house for a new business or taking photos at a festival or parade and then  processing them into a slide show. (In case you are wondering, my partner and I created an on-line magazine that largely catered to business news in the comunity, and managed websites for businesses and organizations.)

I thought after I "retired" I would have plenty of time for my writing. It turns out I was prematurely optimistic. I have just as many obligations as before with some added on. Added on by my own willingness to volunteer, I must admit.

My husband suggested that I cut down on my activities. I won't, and here's why:

They keep me connected to the community and my church. I love being around people and feeling like I am part of something bigger than myself.

They keep me connected to friends and family. E-mail, snail-mail, Facebook: a little time each day checking in on the folks I love.

They give me a chance to "pay back" for the many advantages I have been given. This is important. If I don't help those looking for a better life, it's like ignoring all the people who helped me along the way. And smacks of arrogant ingratitude.

They keep me grounded. Most people don't care that I wrote a book or two. They just want me to help in the ktichen at a hot dog fundraiser or take minutes at a meeting. 

 I like being busy and involved. And yes, I can still carve out time to write. So my advice to these young writers is not to complain about having to schedule because it's a skill you will find helpful, if not necessary, when the babies are grown and the day job is a memory. Books aren't written in ivory towers. They are written from and in spite of a full involvement in life.


  1. Very nice and oh, so true, Sandy. I enjoyed this post. I haven't worked in a few years, but even when working and raising my kids, I wrote late at night and in each spare moment I could crowd in a day. But now that the kids are all grown...I have a LOT of writing time! Amid helping a post-stroke father in-law who lives with us, a seven year old granddaughter we have guardianship of, general house and family needs, multiple animals inside and out (hubby decided we need chickens last month... WE?) to care for. But I do have more writing time if I use the time I have, like now while FIL has gone to the post office (six miles away) and the house is mine for a short bit.

    It's how you use the time you have that counts.

  2. Sandy, very interesting post. I completely agree with keeping all your activities.

  3. You are so right not to give up your activities. My personal saying is: The more you do, the more you do. The less you do... You get it, right?

    If I gave up tennis, I'd have more time to write. But I'd be cranky, not as healthy, and would suffer from cabin fever.

  4. Balance in all things. I find if I spend too much time doing the same thing, I don't get better, I get worse. I do write everyday, but sometimes its only for an hour, other times if I'm lucky, I get a whole day. Friends and associations with the outside world are critical to keeping your mind and body exercised. Good post, lady.