Work, Family and Writing: How to Balance Life and Art

Once a year, Lynda and I get together to discuss topics on her blog – much like you would find at a writing convention. This year we are taking on the Work-Life Balance that all writers must face. Below is a copy of the guest post I did on her blog. To join in on the discussion, to leave comments, and to find out how Lynda responded, I encourage you to go to Lynda’s blog: Reality Skimming!

Lynda Williams was kind enough to ask me to discuss this topic on her blog today, so let’s start with a definition.

According to Wikipedia a “Work-Life Balance” can be defined as such: “Each individual’s needs, experiences and goals, define the balance and there is not a one size fits all solution. Also, what work-life balance does not mean is an equal balance in units of time between work and life.

So it depends on your needs and goals. If you have a family, or like me are just starting one, you need to take into account how much time your family needs. Can they get by without you one or two nights a week? Is your spouse supportive of your writing? And that pesky day job. Can you financially afford to go part-time so you have more time for writing? Or will you have to eek out whatever time you can during the commute or on lunch breaks?

So you’ve figured out your family’s needs and your financial responsibilities. But you also need to take into account your needs and goals.

So what are your goals? No really, think about them. What do you want to happen next year? In 5 years? In 10? What do you want to be writing, selling, doing, living? Write these things down. If you want to write 2 novels a year and promote them both, you will need more time than someone who wants to write a few short stories. Once you know what your goals are you can start figuring out how to arrange your life to get them. You’ll figure out how much time it will take and where you can find those extra minutes in your day. Talk about your goals with your family so they understand why you need them to take care of themselves on Wednesday nights.

And when all else fails, when you have the goals and the drive but not the support you wish you had, there is always late night writing. You might miss that extra hour of sleep but you’ll love the piece of writing you end up with.

You can find a balance; it just takes work and effort to find it.

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