Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Life as a Juggling & Balancing Act

Sounds like what someone working in a circus would write. Well, would you believe me if I told you the life of a writer often resembles a circus? Why? Because we need to juggle and balance! On most days, all we want to be is the writer blissfully penning tales in her office while the world outside just melts away. However, that's not reality - we're writers yes, but we're also spouses, parents, children, siblings, friends, living people! And all of these roles are hard to juggle and balance together, especially if life is giving you a hard time. Equilibrium is the name of the game!
Yes, it's easy to strive for this equilibrium when your life and everything in it is ho-hum. You take the kids to school, make their food and snacks, help with the homework, play those mind-numbing games you wonder why kids like. You welcome the man home. You shower TLC on him (and hopefully he returns some back!). You sit and chat over a cup of coffee while the kids are killing themselves in their room (but that's not your problem currently since you're in couple's time). You sit down and grab a book to read before going to bed, or you turn on the TV and plonk down in front of whatever soapie is airing, wondering how this woman was chasing this guy nine months ago when you last caught this show and how she still hasn't got him even now. Oh no wait, she got him and then she left him for someone else, and now she realises she shouldn't have left him in the first place, and yada yada to make mush out of the remaining brain you still had.

So all this is fine on most days. And then the writer in you pokes her head up. Some call this their muse popping by, or being struck by inspiration. Whatever you call it, the urge to write settles in. On most days, it may just happen that you open that Word doc and stare at the words, asking this woman featured there, uh where did we meet...? And you go, oh yeah, you're the gal who's hooked onto that hunk of a fella, but he isn't looking at you, right? You want me to hitch you together. And that's where you also go, pray tell me how on earth I'll do that!!!

And then there are the days when nothing else exists, nothing but this story inside you that you desperately need to write. Forget chores and welcome a whole family of dust bunnies in your house. There's so much laundry to do you can simply tip the baskets over and have great free-form furniture. And last you checked, no one died from a diet of instant noodles and carbonated drinks.

Yes, this is what you want to do when the writing bug bites you. There's this story screaming to get out, and I mean screaming, as in yelling, screeching, hollering, using one of those sound-magnifying things the police use to call to a hostage taker.
Right next to it something else might be screaming, something you dream of doing - aka my current plight, completing my finals for my degree and write my WIP to completion. Both are eating at my time and my brains, and without a brain, how do you hope to function?

How do you hope to fit life in there?

It's tempting to throw everything out and just focus on what's screaming to be done/written/completed. But that's just a part of you being shown TLC - and you need all of what makes you YOU to be complete!

Life is going on, whether you want it to or not. Things are happening right here, right now. Don't just think of writing away in your bubble, people!
What happens to your kid now is not gonna happen again the same way after you finish penning this story down. The hug and cuddle he wants to give you sounds like a break you don't need from your keyboard, but this may just be what will take this child through another hour with you zoning out in writer land. You think you got your man? Yeah, you do - that's your ring on his finger, innit? Well, get this - a ring is not fixed onto his finger, just like you're not the only woman in the world (well, maybe you're the only woman who will take him with all his pig headedness and lousy bathroom habits and strange food eating ways, but you wanna risk that?) What happens if after you've penned this story, which may not be a masterpiece even, you look around and find that there's a stranger in the house with you? The worst thing is, it's not him the stranger, it's you, because you retired into your world and lost touch with the reality he's been living in.

Want to try to rekindle everything then? Fine, go ahead. If there is anything to rekindle. Cold ashes do not blaze back to life.

So whenever the writing bug bites, you'll feel kinda weird. You want to write, write, write. But remember that you also have to juggle and balance, because unfortunately for us writers, there is also the real world out there and it won't stop existing because we will it to.
Life is going on all around us - don't stop living each and every moment of your existence. That's what living is about!

Bitten by the writing bug, bogged down by laundry, gone over the hill senseless with studies - any of that ever happen to you? How did you create your equilibrium then?

From Mauritius with love,

Zee

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