Finding Balance



Or
It's Friday Night and I'm Working

First a big thank you to Kristen Lamb for her blog today.

Maturity–The Difference Between the Amateur and the Professional

I was planning to come home and write anyway since I have mondo-goals (including finishing Kristen's We Are Not Alone - A Writer's Guide To Social Media) and finally a long weekend where I might actually accomplish something.  Hubby is working so no distraction there.  Kids are ready for school.  We might hit the lake one afternoon because, well, look at it:



Bluer than blue and it's supposed to be sunny for the next two weeks.  Who could resist, right?

But first Kristen's Blog not only reminded me, but inspired me to get my butt in the chair (and also to honour my commitment to blog.)

I have to admit, my first thought was that she was taking on Sue Grafton for her remarks about indie-publishers being lazy.  See here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/29/self-published-laziness-charge-sue-grafton

Au contraire, Kristen is reminding us to show up and do the work, something that Sue Grafton admits she hadn't realized many indie-published writers are doing.

I like Kristen's point that rather than whine about day jobs, we should look to what they are teaching us and how they contribute and prepare us for the hard work of becoming a professional writer.  I can say that along with teaching me hard skills like accounting principles etc., my day job has taught me to write even when most people are taking the night off.  Yes, it's Friday Night from the day job, but it's Monday Morning for the Dream Job.  (I'm okay with that because my boss is very forgiving and will probably let me either drink a glass of wine at my desk or let me off early or both.)

However, the one thing Kristen only addresses peripherally is balance.  She states right up front that she's taking the weekend off (well, Monday) and that she's badly in need of this break, but her blog doesn't stress Rest for the Wicked and I have learned the hard way that rest is not a privilege or a treat, but a must.

See, I am all for putting in the hours and doing your homework and honing your craft and doing all the ancillary things that aren't writing but are necessary for building your career.  It's absolutely true that this does not write books:

This, in fact, does hardly anything except commit acts that would have him tried for war crimes if he were human.  Do not let his cuddly pose fool you.  He is a killing machine.

No, this writes books:

(Note: Glass of water - boss not yet lightening up on poor hard-done-by employee, probably because workspace is so unkempt.)

However, one of the reasons I'm slave-driving myself tonight is because I goofed off last night.  (Dinner with a rock star no less--Tavis Stanley from Art of Dying is a friend of a friend and we got to hear him play.  You can get to know him here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W04p2piIRmU.)

For a long time, especially when the kids were little, every spare second had to be devoted to the writing and I started hearing myself say "No" to a lot of fun things.  I started to realize I was missing out on time with people I care about, but also that I was getting burnt out.  I mean, crisp.

So even though I have real deadlines now, when my girlfriend was in town we sat on the beach for a couple of hours because sometimes Now is all you've got.  Sometimes you need to reconnect with your best gal pal and let the body and mind recharge.  Even professionals are entitled to a day off.

What I'm saying is, Kristen is totally right, but I would add that another Mark of Maturity is looking after yourself so you can face your personal Monday Mornings with a fresh attitude and energy for the work required.

Hope your boo-boo is all better, Kristen.