I think it’s somewhat appropriate that I’m writing this blog post from the backseat of my roommates’ car as we head out for a weeklong work trip. I could have written it this past weekend. I should have. Instead, I spent this weekend furiously finishing up a novel I’ve been working on since November 2014. I couldn’t do anything else until I typed “the end,” which I finally did Sunday afternoon.
This isn’t the first time other things have gotten pushed by the wayside when I work on writing. It probably isn’t even the hundredth.
When I’m writing, I’m writing, and I’m fairly terrible about doing anything else beyond what I absolutely have to. I tend to stay in rather than go out. I go longer between answering texts, I make even fewer calls than I normally do, and my email response time rapidly decreases. Basically, I become a writing hermit.
And then there are the times when I’m not writing, when I’m taking a break between projects or letting a draft cool off before I hop back into editing mode. This is when I take the time to bake bread and cookies, to read books, to write reviews, to critique stories for friends, to actually interact with people like a normal human being.
There isn’t any balance. There aren’t even baby steps. There’s just all or nothing.
I’m either 100% into a project, or 0%.
It feels like I should probably find a way to balance things better, to make sure work and writing and relationships and other commitments all have a somewhat equal portion of the pie that is my life. Logically, I know that all or nothing is a bad idea for anything, even writing.
And yet, it seems to be the only way I know how to operate.
That’s what I tend to do with just about anything. When I get into something, I get into it. It’s all I want to think about. Writing really isn’t any different. I get into my stories just as assuredly as I’ve ever gotten into any video game or TV show, and I love it. But that’s part of the problem.
Trying to maintain a better equilibrium is something I’ve been working on for a long time, and I’m still not very good at it. But I’ve been getting better. It’s hard, and it takes a conscious effort, and I still fail more days than I succeed. But I’m working on it.
And who knows? Maybe one day I’ll get to where it’s not all or nothing, and I can be somewhere in between.