Finding the Balance

Okay, so this time as I'm writing about the subject of balancing work and a writing career, I'm a bit more optimistic than I was when I wrote this post last year.  But that's only because you caught me this month.  I would've written a very different post last month, which was possibly the busiest of my legal career, complete with a jury trial and another big case where we got hit with huge motion after huge motion with only days to research and draft briefs on complex legal issues.  In the middle of all of the work stress was the launch of my debut novel, a blog tour and an edit letter requiring some significant changes.

My worlds were colliding.  And I didn't have time to think let alone figure out how to deal with it.

So I didn't write. 

It was insane. I felt like I had zero balance.

In retrospect, even with all the craziness, I still made time for a few writing related activities:

I listened to my playlist on the way to and from work, brainstorming ideas for new scenes for the edit;

With Katherine, Veronica, and YA Author Corrine Jackson at Bay Books
I took an evening to go find my book in the wild;

I took a day to celebrate my debut with family and friends;

I attended a signing event with some of the Muses in San Ramon;

I read two novels;

I came up with an idea for a new novel; and

I figured out a major plot point for my revision.

So, my crazy, busy, work-focused month was not as completely unbalanced as I thought.  The time away from writing was hard, but it also forced me to think about my edits before diving in, taking time to brainstorm plot points and figure out how to address my editor's suggestions. I don't know how much I would've written even if I had the time.  The excitement and stress of  a book launch was a bit overwhelming. 

And the time away from writing reminded me of why I started writing in the first place.  Not so my book would be in stores or even sell a single copy.

I started writing as a way to entertain myself in my down time.  Writing was my escape from the stress of my demanding career.  Writing still provides that escape for me.  If anything, my writing becomes more important in busy and stressful times, when I need to clear my head before going to bed or unwind after a difficult day in court.

To me, writing is the balance. 


Talia: Thanks for this post. It helps to hear about other writers with demanding day jobs. Actually, mine isn't all that demanding but I have the commute from hell and 2 small kids so the writing-life balance is just a constant struggle. Writing is my escape too--what keeps me sane and motivated. And yes, the creative work itself is what really matters, even more than the end goal of publishing.

Amazing how much work we can do when we're not really writing - like you said, thinking about revision, brainstorming new ideas, and so on. It's important to remember that some of the writing work is done on the sly, and our brains only think we're not working.

Silly brains.

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