Balance. I’ve been struggling with it for months. How do I find time for my job, my friends, my family, furnishing my new apartment, dating, and last but not least, my writing? (and to those of you reading this who have kids too, I’d love to know how you do it!).
Yes I know I blog every Sunday, and it counts as writing, but having survived the process of writing a novel, of seeing a story come to life – in the absence of that, I’ve been feeling flat inside. Like a light has gone off inside my soul (cheesy though it sounds).
“You have no balance,” people have said to me. “Duh,” is my response.
But how does one find it?
I think that sometimes we perceive “balance” as this tangible thing that’s playing hide and seek with us…that’s lurking just around the corner. “If only I could just run right into it, then I’d feel better.”
But of course, that never happens. We have to create our own balance, from inside, via the choices we make, the things we say yes to, and maybe more importantly, the things we say no to.
When I started writing my first book almost four years ago, I had to train myself to say no. I had to respect my personal time, and protect it, whether anyone understood or not. It wasn’t easy at first. I told my parents, sisters, and friends to pretend that I was getting my law degree part time, on evenings and weekends, and that I wouldn’t have the luxury of hang out time until I was finished. Which came eventually – two agonizing years later. But it was worth it in the end.
And now? I’m doing it again.
For months now, I had been anticipating the month of November (a coincidence that the word “No” is in it?). November is “National Book Writing Month,” otherwise known as “NaNoWrimo.” All you have to do is sign up, and then write about 1600 words a day, which multiplied by 30 or so (I’m bad at math), equals about 50,000 words. An entire book.
Sounds easy, right? Or frightening and utterly insane?
Every morning for the past six days (since Nov. 1), I have been getting up early (7am is early for me), and instead of going to the gym, I go to my writing gym (a café). When I first sat down and opened my laptop, I had nothing but a concept, but here I am on Day 6, and I have twenty pages of something that sort of resembles a story. That’s more than I had a week ago. I think some of it sucks. In fact, I know most of it does, but as I write, everything around me disappears. And when I get to my office at the same time I have been for the last nine months, I feel lighter. I feel fed. In other words, I found balance.
A week before NaNo started, as I anticipated beginning, little things around me started to shift. I felt a “click” in my job. I was settling into my new apartment. It started snowing and I felt less obligated to go out all the time. Things didn’t work out with JDate guy. It was as if the universe was listening to me, and decided to give me a break. It rearranged the furnishings of my day to day, and made space for me. But I had set it in motion.
One day at a time. 1600 words at a time.