Wednesday, February 2, 2011

finding balance

Several years ago Randall Wright—one of the authors/instructors at the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers conference—strolled over and began talking to a small group of women, including me. What he said left a lasting impression on me.

He asked if we (as mom writers) ever felt guilty taking time away from our kids or cleaning to write. In unison, we all said yes. I told him I sometimes feel conflicted that there is a real world going on around me, and yet I sit and make up an imaginary one while my kids play on the floor nearby.

Then he reminded me of something. When we were young, kids played by themselves. I personally remember my mom reading to me and doing crafts with us sometimes, but I don’t recall her getting down and playing with us very often. Usually we played by ourselves, in our own make-believe worlds.

Martine Leavitt came over and joined our conversation for a minute and told us to think of the children who will snuggle up to our books someday, take comfort in our words, and find peace in their lives while they learn something.

Years later, I still think about their advice as I try to find a balance of writing and being a human being who contributes to the real world. How do you find your balance?


  1. Martine was the one who first gave me permission to write, too.

    But balance? What's that? I'm always teetering between falls.

    I do believe no stay-at-home mom stays sane without taking time out for her own creative needs. I have at least two friends who tried and ended up going off the deep-end for awhile, unable do anything mommish while they recovered themselves.

    I think it's ebb and flow, actually. You do what's most urgent. And it really helps to have a supportive spouse who recognizes you need your daily and weekly time-outs for writing.

  2. I agree, Elena. Everyone needs to have some sort of creative outlet, no matter what it is.

  3. i have NO balance right now. and it's not good for our family. so trav and i are going to sit down this sunday and make a family schedule. i'm scheduling two days a week for working on my novel, one day a week for blogging (i think), and one day a week for reading. the other nights are for work and family things. we'll see how it goes...

  4. I have to write at least an hour every day, or I get out of the habit. But I agree, I need to make myself a better schedule that includes other things, and stick with it.

  5. Its funny that you asked this question Gaylene. Just last week I was complaining to my friend that I just don't have time for all my goals.

    half hour scripture study and personal prayer
    hour workout
    writing (a lot)

    I wanted to do each of these things EVERY day. She recommended doing each of them every day but making them more atainable.

    Read half a chapter a day with a personal prayer
    Workout for 20 minutes
    Write fewer words

    It worked! I was a lot less stressed but was still accomplishing things.
    I know with me I have to either go HARD or just stop. I'm trying to be happy with smaller amounts.
    I just wonder if anyone ever truly masters balance in this life. Or if when I'm 70 years old I'll still be trying to balance things.

  6. Good for you, Ashley. I know I'll still be working on it when I'm 70...