Life is a Balancing Act
It’s a cliché, I know, but it’s never more true when you have limited time, and so much to do.
When I returned to the working world last month, I knew things would change dramatically in terms of my time to do the activities I had taken for granted during the last few months. I knew my energy would be down a bit, so I wouldn’t have quite as much time to blog or to write. But I figured I’d have some. Back in March, I was averaging a blog entry every other day, I was putting an outline together for my next book, and I was eagerly planning the next round of edits on Nowhere Wild.
What I didn’t anticipate was that returning to work would also mean that I would spend a lot of my free time getting back up to speed on the technology I needed to do my day job. I went through this same process when I started my last job back in 2008. I spent six solid months reading all kinds of technical books on software development so I could actually feel like a little bit less of an imposter at my job. But I didn’t see it coming this time. I don’t know why. This time around, instead of reading books(which is still difficult for me), I’ve been watching technical courses on PluralSight.com. I can’t recommend them enough. We even went out and bought a Kindle Fire HD (7”) so I could download the courses and watch them on the way into work. We liked the Kindle Fire so much, we bought a second one, so we can use it as a kid-occupier when we travel.
But watching these videos during my commute uses the time I used to reserve every day for writing. It’s time well spent—but still, it’s not writing time. I had hoped that I’d have time and energy to write in the evenings, but the kids go to bed later now than they did that last time I did any serious commuting, they have swim lessons twice a week, and I’m so much more tired than I used to be when I get home. By the time the kids are in bed, the bills are paid, and emails returned, it’s 8:30 PM, I’m bushed and bedtime is just 45 minutes away. I crash on the couch, watch a TV show on Netflix, and crawl into bed.
I used to get a lot of writing done in the early morning hours of the weekend, but now the kids are up long before I am. MY body needs a couple of extra hours of sleep on the weekends to make up for the early wakeups during the week. During the rest of the day it’s nearly impossible to get an hour’s peace to just sit down and write.
But the writing must happen. And it will. I’m nearing completion on the first round of essential courses I need to take for work, and that will, hopefully, free up a couple of commutes per week. That does still present the issue that because I can’t mingle my work and home PC content, that I’ll have to lug two laptops back and forth each day to the office—but I have to find a way to make that work.
I realize that I say “hopefully” a lot in these blog entries. Hopefully this will happen, and then I can do that. In the old days, before GBS, hopefully meant that I probably wasn’t as committed to getting things done as I should be. But with my recovery from GBS, hopefully means that I am doing everything in my power to balance the needs of my recovery, my family, my work, and my writing. Unfortunately, the writing has come in 4th place since the beginning of April. It won’t be moving up the list any time soon, but as my strength returns, the hope is that the GBS recovery takes less and less time each day, and leaves more time to write. There’s that word again—hope. When it comes to the recovery, I’ve learned that I can’t set a deadline on being better. I hope for the best, and try to do a little more whenever my body allows me to. Sometimes weeks go by before that next step is possible.
So for now, I’m making no promises on what I’m going to get done this month. Fortunately, both my editor and agent understand my situation, and are more than accommodating. The only pressure being applied to me to get this round of edits done is from my own desire to get back into the story, and to make the book as good as it can possibly be.