It’s no joke this trying to juggle work, family, and creative life, I’ll tell you what! I’m not letting you in on any secrets; everyone knows it’s hard to toggle between these particular tabs. Sometimes, though, you just have to shout it out loud, “Hey, y’all! I’m feeling the burn over here!”
I tend to let the creative slide first, which is unfortunate because I think my creative/productive life is just as important as the other parts. I mean, okay, sure, if our boat was sinking and I had to choose between my kids and my manuscript (I don’t really have a manuscript, per se, at the moment, but I don’t have a boat either, so play along), I’d choose the kids, but still. The boat’s not sinking. I told you, the boat doesn’t exist; although, it sure does feel like we have a boat that’s sprung a few holes sometimes.
Add in the holidays, illness, errands, deadlines at your paying job, and by the time you make it down your to-do list to where it says write something!! you may as well start melting the coconut oil for the popcorn you’re going to eat during the [insert the streaming programming name of your choice] marathon you’re about to settle in for because clenching your butt cheeks through Black Mirror is about all the energy you’ll be able to muster. (Seriously, that first episode of season 1, though?)
School helps me prioritize. When your tuition, grades, and degree are on the line, you pony up whatever it takes to get the work done, I guess. The hardest part about juggling all the mes, by far, is when my kids start missing me–the physical me. There are days I only see them in the mornings before they shuffle off to school. My classes meet at night, and they’re asleep by the time I get home. Guilt and motherhood are strange bedfellows.
I suppose I manage. I’m ready for the house guests who are coming tomorrow for my daughter’s birthday and two early Christmas celebrations. I’ve got a few scratches in the ol’ Moleskin, and the folks at a magazine where I would love to publish asked for a rewrite on a submission. I’ve also had a few encouraging rejections recently (which is a phrase that doesn’t seem positive, but I’m told it is). It’s not for lack of will or inspiration, I sometimes just have to set the writing aside for a bit. This is one of those times. I’m frustrated, but trying to rewrite that and similar stories I tell myself every day.
Callooh callay, alas no creative work today. Plenty of other things keeping me busy, but my writing always calls. I’m pretty sure it, or something akin to it, is that still, small voice inside of me. Either that, or my kids are calling me.
(In case you were wondering, I tend to go with HBO Now, Netflix, or Amazon Prime, and of course, the Lifetime app for Project Runway. Happy binge-watching…er…I mean, writing!)