February 16, 2010

Balancing the Scale

I write about it often, this balancing of life and writing. I do so because I know it’s the thing that we all struggle with so much. Few writers have all the time in the world to write. In fact, most of us have precious little time for writing and we have to squeeze it in around all the other bigger, weightier, chunkier parts of life, the stuff that involves actual living and mingling with real flesh and blood, breathing people.

How do we find the balance? I’m not sure we do. The fact is that when we make great deposits in writing, the scale leans that way and the stuff of life becomes a bit light, even neglected if we aren’t careful. Then, when we plunge full force into living, the writing side of the scale shoots up in the air from lack of paper weight.

We can get in a dither about it, our inability to balance the scale, or we can accept it as the natural way of living. This is the life of a writer, the life we willingly signed up for when we took this road. Oh, it may not look like what we expected, but this is it. 

Instead of looking at the scale from a stressful stance, look at it a little differently. Think in terms of a seesaw. One side goes up, one goes down. One child up, one child down. Back and forth, bringing delight to both ends. 

This picture is vivid in my mind. I was a child living in Texas with a park across the street from my house. My friends and I would go there to replenish from long school days. The seesaw went up and down, the merry-go-round cycled round and round again. Yet, we didn’t complain. Those rhythms brought a peace, relaxation, a little tingle in the tummy. They made us feel secure and safe and full of childlike wonder. 

And so it is with writing. Rather than trying to keep the scale in perfect balance, I find it best to simply enjoy the ride. Sometimes I’m full to fatness with words that simply must come out. But once they are released I feel the lightness that compels me to invest quality time in the world around me and the people I dearly love.
Before long, I’ve filled up again with inspiration and stories that must come out.

The endless cycle. The writing life. The thing I said I wanted.




Cassandra Frear said...

I really needed to read this post today.

I spent the day writing. I wasn't very efficient. I was wrestling with getting the words just right. I did make some nice things happen on paper. But they are very small accomplishments. And now it is nearly 5:00.

I feel a bit of a letdown. "That's all I did with my day?" Hard to believe. Often when I'm writing, I lose touch with my world. I lose track of time. I can't decide if that's a good thing.

I love the written word. I love crafting well-built sentences. But at the end of the day, that's what I have. Some sentences. It can take the wind out of my sails if I think about it too long.

I'm guessing that, as I gain more experience, I will also get better at living my life while I write. It's something to hope for.

Miss Sandy said...

I always feel better after soaking up some of your wisdom. You know my struggle with the art thing and the writing thing and I love the see saw analogy. I'll have to remember how much I loved this as a kid and as you say, "enjoy the ride". Hope your evening is a sweet one!

Linda said...

This writing "thing" has just sort of nudged its way into my life. I began writing poetry, sitting on the front porch while the kids were in school. Then someone started a writer's group in our church and something compelled me to go. I loved every minute of it. I even got brave enough to send a few things in - and got the form rejection letters - and got hugely discouraged (as is my nature) and vowed never to do that again.
The writer's group broke up after a few years, and writing just took the form of journaling for me.
Then I discovered this amazing blogging community and felt that nudge again.
I don't know that I could possibly call myself a writer. I just know I love words - reading them, writing them, speaking them, listening to them.
I see the difficulty in trying to balance it all with the rest of my life. All that to say, I really enjoyed this post (and all your posts). YOU are a real writer!

Tiffany said...

This was so very lovely to read.

cindy holman said...

Great word of encouragement - as a private music teacher I'm always having to balance my love for writing and the internet with teaching and family ♥

Bethany from Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom said...

I love the teeter-totter word picture! I think that is a much more realistic picture of mom writers than a perfectly balanced scale (who wants to think about scales, anyway?!). Thanks for sharing your insights to encourage the rest of us.

Lisa S. Luckey said...

Thank you for this. I sometimes have the guilt of writing too much and also cleaning the house too much and not writing enough. I do believe I will always remember the see-saw analogy. Thank you. It made me feel better about trying to find the perfect balance.
I used to do the balancing thing on the see-saw and see how long I could do it and then it wouldn't do it too long.
Once again. Thank you.


The Scooper said...

Bonita, this is rich. You penned my thoughts exactly, especially that of feeling a relief and lightness once you've written down what was bubbling about on the inside. It is indeed a see saw...I like that analogy. I've never lived a life in perfect balance anyway. {It would likely be boring.} : )

Anonymous said...


First, thank you for dropping by and commenting on my blog. I am so glad you were encouraged.

Second, I am laughing because this is the very thing the Lord and I talked about around eleven last night when I had hoped to be in bed and sound asleep well before ten. I agree. There is no balance, just a ebb and flow of life as days and seasons roll through with assumed plans that give way to the tending of hearts and relationships, both earthly and heavenly. But when we make love our purpose, doesn't His heart become the weightiest thing of all, and isn't that where we find the perfect balance? And wouldn't it be nice if I didn't stumble over what that meant in practical earthly life? :-)


Donna said...

Bonita, thank you for these words of "pure encouragement." Your blog spurs me on in the new awareness of my love of writing.