Thursday, November 04, 2010

Rough Drafts: Balancing Writing and Life

"In school they told me, 'Practice makes perfect.' But then they told me, 'Nobody's perfect.' So I stopped practicing." ~~Steven Wright

Despite decades now of practice, balancing the desire--a desire that often feels like a need--to write with the demands of motherhood and out-of-the-house employment is something I've actually gotten worse at rather than better. For a while, when the kids were younger and I was managing a bookstore, I wrote with what seems to me now to be a stunning regularity. I set goals--a certain number of finished projects to be submitted to a certain number of markets each month--and actually met them.

These days--though the demands of the children are significantly less and the job is actually less stressful in many ways than any I've ever had before--I no longer even manage to set goals let alone meet them. (Unless you count NaBlo...) I was looking back on the mid- to late-nineties as some kind of mysterious and glorious accomplishment--a testament to the power of organization and determination and motivation (all of which I seem to have long since misplaced), a shining example of my amazing (and apparently temporary) ability to balance my needs with everyone else's.

Then I remembered Easter Eve 1998. The kids were anxiously awaiting the chance to create Easter egg masterpieces so I put a pot of eggs on to boil and snuck off to the computer to write a few lines on my latest essay while the water was heating. The words began to flow and paragraphs later, I was reminded of the eggs by the pop pop pop of them exploding out of the blackened, bone-dry pot.

Yeah. Maybe balance is too strong a word.


  1. LOL!

    Well, they do say that hindsight is kind, though I think what it does to us (driving us crazy trying to figure out a way to be as thin/organized/super cool as we were once upon a time) seems pretty malicious to me.

    Maybe it's cyclical? Next year you'll be a dynamo at balance!

  2. It's probably wrong to admit missing exploding eggs but I definitely do miss being so absorbed in the writing that I momentarily shut out all the distractions around me.