And you got life in my work! (if anyone remembers the Reese’s cereal commercials, you know what I mean)
I think the thing I get asked about the most is my schedule, and how I balance work and writing life.
And I’ve kinda blogged about it before, but the thing is, things change. Life changes, workloads shift, the work life balance isn’t an immobile thing that one day comes into absolute order.
No, it’s walking on a tightrope, continually, while you’re balancing kittens on spinning plates up on sticks, and the kittens keep moving. And growing. And sometimes they leap off unexpectedly. And then sometimes they come back and bring another kitten. You get the idea. It’s not a stable I GOT DIS IT’S ALL GOOD kind of thing.
I had a plan for the next…uh…year basically for my writing that got upended by the addition of three projects, two just needing to be a higher priority and one I wasn’t expecting to do at all, but jumped at the chance to be a part of. (Lori Foster’s charity anthology for HQN!)
So that plan changed. And Fall hit and my husband got busy, and all of my kids got sick for like ever and so…the way I was working had to change.
I think being willing to change the way you work is really important. I prefer to have at least two days dedicated to work in a week. Two days where I get up, get coffee and go to the office. I haven’t had that in MONTHS. I’ve been working early mornings for an hour or so, stopping, doing life, working late afternoons or (bleah) late nights.
In my experience, the willingness to adapt, to take an hour or two when you can and make the most of it, is one of the biggest stress relievers. Because rather than feeling all day like I’m missing out on my work time, I plan on doing it after the kids go to bed, or for an hour when the husband gets home, or I plan the night before to get up extra early, and just make do with what I have.
I’ve experienced that feeling of “I’m not going to get my day so I can’t get anything done and it’s ALL RUINED” and I still struggle with it. But even two hours can be productive. Especially if you form a small plan for what you’ll write before you sit down. (Panster that I am, I don’t always stick to it, but it makes me feel equipped)
This mindset also helps me relax and enjoy my day more. I accept that the day is what it is, and just have fun with it. This has been a journey for me, and it’s one I’m still working on (cats on spinning plates, remember?). Because sometimes I look at everything I have to do and I still get a stress.
But for the most part an attitude of flexibility helps. It eases that panicky feeling and creates a lot more harmony in my house. And that’s the most important thing!
That and feeling happy with what you’re doing. I’m a big believer in being happy. The fact is, work spills into life, life spills into work, and it all becomes a peanut butter chocolate breakfast cereal blend, but it can be surprisingly tasty and okay! (I’ve exhausted that metaphor, haven’t I?)
There you have it, the work life balance is spinning kittens on plates. And learning to embrace the changeable nature of it.
But sometimes, when you’re on a deadline…it’s okay to just go lock yourself in your office and tell your husband to eat a frozen pizza. (He doesn’t have to eat it frozen, he can heat it up, but that’s his job.)
Because it doesn’t hurt the other people in your life to help you balance a kitten or two either.