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.