Balancing Life as a Writer

(Originally published Aug. 15, 2007).

I have no idea how other authors manage to tend to young children, work outside the home, prepare gourmet dinners, and still crank out wonderful books between feedings and diaper changes. I salute these authors. I take my hat off to them. I’m jealous of their dedication. And consider myself blessed that I do not have a ‘day job’, other than my writing, to worry about.

My two adult sons are long gone from the family nest, allowing me to focus most of my creative energy on writing. My husband respects my writing and is very good about giving me my space. He now understands (after several lengthy lectures) that any interruption breaks my train of thought, jolts me out of the story. He now informs me I need to be more business-oriented with respect to my writing and not let myself be sidetracked by distractions and social engagements.

I am a morning person, not a night owl. I have never understood how anyone can stay awake after midnight, never mind produce a creative masterpiece. My creative juices tend to flow early in the day. On a typical day, I crawl out of bed at 7:00 a.m., suck down a coffee or two over the morning paper, and stagger into my office to pound the keyboard for several hours before showering. When 11:30 rolls around, I crawl into the shower and clean up. If I’m on a roll, I will write some more during the afternoon or early evening. Generally, my brain stops functioning after 10:00 p.m. unless a major deadline looms.

I try not to schedule any activities before noon, but this self-imposed schedule conflicts with my new bike riding regime. And coffee with friends. And doctors’ appointments. And household chores. Truth be told, if I am in the throes of writer’s block, which is most of the time during the first draft, morning writing conflicts with almost everything.

Life this summer has been hectic with travel — a week with friends in Philadelphia and the Jersey Shore, a solo week at Red Pine Camp (one of my favourite spots on earth), followed by an upcoming bike ‘n’ barge trip in the Netherlands combined with three weeks in the Loire Valley, a family wedding in Las Vegas, and last but far from least, a trip to Banff, Alberta to visit my son and the Surrey International Writers Conference in British Columbia.

Whew! I’m getting exhausted just thinking about it. My schedule will not be back to normal until October 23. Until then, I have given myself permission to stop worrying about my writing and focus on enjoying life. Upon my return, I will dust off my first draft of Fur Ball Fever and continue writing.