What About the Other 1 1/4?
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.”
Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You'll Go!
I have always been good at multi-tasking—juggling all the aspects of life. The saying that goes something like "You need something done? Give it to a busy person," used to apply to me. But something has happened, and I don't quite know what. I'm having such a hard time balancing all the things I'm trying to accomplish.
Still, people compliment me on my discipline. "I don't know how you do it!" they say.
Well, I don't know how I do it either. Seriously. I don't really believe that I am as disciplined as everyone thinks. I could always be "doing more" but I don't. And it's not like my life is as busy as it used to be. But somehow it feels this balancing act is not really balanced and my creative work doesn't get the attention it deserves.
I try to tell myself, "Okay, so I wrote 500 words instead of 1000 like I had planned. At least I wrote. 500 words is better than 0, right?" But they nudge me, those 500 unwritten words—nudge, nudge, nudge— demanding my attention. But I need to do the next thing on my list. I've already moved on.
My current routine is this: I wake up at about 5:30 (I am NOT a morning person) to get my creative writing done before I head in to work. It actually works quite well (on most days). Creative writing fuels my technical writing at my day job and I feel motivated and inspired all day. But you can only write so much in an hour-ish and you can only get so far in the creative process with such a limited amount of time. And then there are the days (like this morning) where it just wasn't possible to wake up that early.
Writing at night isn't really a possibility right now. There are too many domestic things to accomplish and a teenage boy who either demands my attention or makes too much noise for me to concentrate (at least we like the same music).
I do write a bit on the weekends, and that is very helpful. A solid chunk of time allows me to really get into my revisions. But I wish I could do more. I don't know. Am I being unrealistic? I want to move mountains, not pebbles.
So I turn to you. What is your personal creative routine? How do you find your balance with life, work, downtime, etc.? And how do you adjust for those "off" days when you just can't seem to get those words down on the paper?