It may sound like I’m one of those would-be writers. You know the ones — who talk and talk about doing it without actually doing it. “I’ll write when I have the time,” and then they never make the time, and then nothing gets written. You know. Them? I certainly feel like one of those would-be writers, when I get into these funks, except I know that I’m putting material out there, I am actually writing, I am not saving it all for when “there’s more time.” (I only save emails for that!)
I came into 2012 with plans to have the WiP 1st draft done in 3-4 months. And I suppose I could even say I accomplished that. By April I was 30k words in and the story did what stories do to me — it fell apart in a bazillion pieces and the Real Story was born from the ashes. And I realized as I started the process over again that I despise keeping a word count while I’m writing. I hate keeping a tally. For the first week, it helps me see the progress I’m making, and after that? After that, it all becomes just another way to measure myself up and find myself lacking. Worse, it takes my attention away from the story-telling. When I’m story-telling, I don’t care about spelling and proper punctuation, I don’t care about the technicalities of writing. When I’m story-telling, if I’m aware enough to even register my fingers on the keyboard while I type, I’m doing it wrong and I’m distracted.
I desperately want to get the stories I have out of me and into the world. Desperately. It is something I want to do almost more than I want to do anything else . . .
. . . but I’m not consumed with the need. I am not one of those people who are all their craft and only their craft. I once upon a time wanted to be. When I try to be that way now — come home and write and write and write and write — after a few days, I’m miserable. Once it becomes my second job, with no other down time, I’m stifled and it takes my attention away from the story-telling.
I’m struggling, still. I have to take time to read, to study, to knit, to nourish relationships. I want to find the balance, to be writing enough so that I feel like I’m getting somewhere, like the stories are getting out, but not so much that I’m burned out.
I’ll never be prolific. I *want* to be, but the process of it makes me unwell. It’s too much, for me, when there are other not-writing things to do.
And of course, I worry. When I get to the point where I have enough stuff out there that seriously pushing my work will be crucial . . . will I have the time to do that*and* work my job *and* write? Not worrying about it now, because what’s the point, but . . .argh. Stupid, elusive balance!
I know I’m not the only one — writer, artist, creative person — trying to balance a full time day job, other interests, and art. How do you find balance? What works for you? What would you recommend others try?