As I shift myself from the mental aspect of “writing as a hobby” to “writing as a profession,” one of the things I have been striving for is to strike the balance between writing and my personal/family life.
I think writers– and other artists– have a bit of a unique challenge here, because art is personal. Writing is not something I do because it’s my job– because I have to do it due to some external pressure. Writing– for me– is very much intrinsically driven. It is easy to get so absorbed in the process, that other things in my life can get pushed away. I sacrifice sleep to write. I sacrifice a clean house to write. If I’m not careful, I can end up sacrificing my health or my relationships.
My relationships– especially with my husband and children– are immensely important to me, so most of the time I don’t really find it too hard to walk away from my writing when I need to for their sakes. I still make an effort to spend time with my family– to listen to them, to play with them, to read my children bedtime stories, and to spend quality time with my husband. But once in a while, that pull to sit at the computer and write when I know I haven’t nurtured my familial relationships yet that day, can tempt even me– and sometimes I give in, to the detriment of all.
I have tried scheduling my writing time, but that doesn’t always work out so well. So then I’m back to sneaking onto the computer any chance I can get, to peck out a few lines before the next crisis needs my attention. (As I was typing the previous paragraph, my 13-year-old came in wanting rant about something bothering him; I stopped typing and listened– that was all he needed; once he was finished, I went straight back to typing.) That doesn’t work too well either, because then there’s always a thought in the back of my mind: When will I get to write again?
Ultimately, I still don’t have the best solution for how to create this balance. But it is important, so I will keep trying things and exploring options and possibilities, until I find what works. And maybe that’s the best I can really hope for– that as long as I’m trying, as long as I care, then I’ll be a whole lot closer to striking that balance than if I stopped trying or caring.