Thursday, February 7, 2008

Managing "Real" Life with a "Writing" Life

Rowan's right. It is about balance.

But it takes a lot of training to be able to balance husband, kids, work, writing, cooking and cleaning (well, not so much cleaning).

I'm a writer in "real" life, whether I'm freelancing for the newspaper where I've worked for almost twenty years (eek!) or writing stories about fictional people. There's not much difference between my real life and my writing life. I've managed to integrate it all into one big mess.

And I mean that in a good way.

Since my first son was born almost fifteen years ago, I've worked out of my home.
My kids don't remember a time when I didn't sit in front of a computer, tapping away on the keys. They know Mom is available for home-from-school hugs and the requisite what-happened-today discussion. But they also know that Mom is working. They know eventually we'll eat something for dinner and they'll get wherever they need to go for music lessons or sports practice.

But they've been trained from a very early age to know it's okay for Mom to sit on the sidelines at every baseball, soccer, karate practice with an open laptop. I can stop a wayward soccer ball with my feet and never take me hands off the keys.

And I've trained myself to be able to tune out distractions, from the jumble of voices at the community pool to an overthrown baseball at the field to the sound of four different instruments playing different tunes.

You have to train yourself to write. Whenever you can, wherever you can. You have to train those around you to value what you do.

You can manage it all. It just takes a little training.

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