Sunday, May 9, 2010

How to Balance an Unbalanced Writing Life

Lately it feels like I've been putting more effort into my posts over at Beyond the Margins. And I admit, I've been saving some of my ideas for that blog. While some of my posts on Unreliable Narrator are less personal or less about the craft of writing. Mainly, that's a result of having a deadline at BTM. I can see on our Google calendar that once every 11 business days (or so) a sparkling new post is expected of me. I know what I signed up for and if I get overwhelmed I can opt out at any time.

But I'm not going to. Having my own blog and being a writer in great company on a co-op blog is just too good an experience to let flag. So I plan to continue participating in both. It's really a matter of keeping my writing life balanced. Because not only am I blogging, I'm also working on a novel-in-progress, querying agents and smaller publishers regarding my finished novel A Little Disappeared, putting finishing touches on a handful of stories and sending those out to literary magazine, and enjoy contributing literary magazine reviews to The Review Review

As a writer who works to pay a mortgage, I need to find that balance of work and writing. My balance is a little unbalanced. I try to use the weekends as much as I can. Weeknights after using my technical writing brain I'm pretty frazzled. But I try to do a little reading, emailing, or social networking. I also try to keep up with the many excellent blogs and websites that help inform writers who are querying, synopsizing, and otherwise seeking publication. Publishing is a business and as such I need to work at it. I know this, I just have to work harder at it.

In general, I'm happy with my writing life. I am able to get up about an hour early each weekday and work on my novel-in-progress. It's slow going, a slog if you will (if it were a song, it would be a dirge or My Bloody Valentine stretching their 4 minute pop ditty You Made Me Realise into a 20-plus minute live sonic assault), but one that moves forward. And soon, I'd like to add to my unbalanced writing life by taking another writing class or reinstating an existing writing group currently on hiatus or joining/starting a new one. But that's a writing life decision for another day.

How do you keep your unbalanced writing life balanced? What goes, what stays, and what kind of schedule do you have just to get through the week?

In the meantime, here's You Made Me Realise for your listening pleasure (or pain, depending):


Cynthia Sherrick said...

My life is most definitely unbalanced. My writing life isn't much better. Right now I try to write at night after the day job. Sometimes it works, not always.

Robin said...

Dell -- I think you bring up an often overlooked point about the writing life. How do you juggle your day job with the stolen hours for writing? I tend to write either in the mornings before work at the paper or on weekends. My life is so busy though, that I feel guilty sometimes because I can't do more. I also work on projects that are very different (poetry and young adult novel) so that's another time-worthy consideration. What's a writer/teacher/librarian/mother to do??

Dell Smith said...

Sounds like you're both getting it done. Slowly but consistently.