Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Yes, "juggleress" is actually a word in the OED, dating from 1430. I could even justifiably use it in TMT, were I so inclined.

There has been some discussion lately over on Books & Writers about balance: how, as women, do we fit writing into already full lives? How can you make time for yourself to write, day after day, when it's probably not paying any bills, when your children are young and need your attention, when your husband or significant other actually wants to spend time with you at the end of the day? Do you cut yourself short on sleep? Tell your family to suck it up and deal with it (and probably feel just a wee bit of guilt there)? Quit your job, and dedicate school time or nap time to your craft?

The answer, of course, is that there is no one answer. (Cop-out, I know. Stay tuned.) For every woman the solution will be different.

Diana Gabaldon succeeded by giving up sleep, when her kids were small. Lots of writers can do that, staying up after everyone is tucked in bed, or rising early to create their stories in the pre-dawn quiet. (I can't. I'm sleep-deprived as is.)

Some have, or recruit, lots of help and support from family and friends. If you can arrange to have grandma or grandpa take the baby for 2 mornings a week, bonus! All you have to do then is sit your butt down and ignore the laundry. {g} Or maybe your spouse can take the kids out for a few hours of bonding time every Saturday.

Me? I work full-time. My 4-year-old is in preschool, full days. So when we get home, I'm sure as heck not going to run off to the computer to write--that time is hers, no question, no debate. After she goes to bed? Hubby time. I haven't seen HIM all day either, likely, so that time is ours together. But I still need some time to write, or I'll go insane.

I write on my lunch hour. Every day. I shut the door, sit myself down, and write. I also try to manage a couple hours on the weekend, while my family members are doing other things. Now, I've had lots of writers question this: how could you possibly write a whole book, only on your lunch hour? One hour a day? Answer: that's 5 hours a week. Plus the weekend time, maybe 7 hours a week. It adds up, if you're dedicated. And I DID write a whole book. I am.

The REAL answer (see, aren't you glad you stuck it out?) is commitment. No matter where the heck you scrape that time, you do it. You manage it. You commit to yourself that this IS important. More important than relaxing and reading that new book at lunchtime, maybe. More important than getting that extra hour of sleep, if you can do that. More important than watching TV, more important than getting the dishes done every night. NOT more important than family, for most of us--but if you make the commitment to yourself, you'll find the time. You'll make the time. And then you'll be a juggleress. Then you'll be a writer.


Vicki Pettersson said...

OMG, that was so much better said than my 'shut up and write' post. Well said.
V (who wrote only once today while the little bit was napping ... it'll add up)

Susan Adrian said...

Oh, I don't think it was any better said. But you know the sentiment's exactly the same. ( maybe we've talked--or ranted--about this more than once? {g})

And yes, it will add up! Good for you.