The Off-Balancing Act: Binge vs Balance

ff-balancing act, creative balance, healthy boundaries, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, writing, writers, advice for writers

We created the lovely banner with the picture Lazy Limbs by Michael via Flickr’s Creative Commons with the CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 license. The image was slightly resized, and our text added. No other changes made.

Look, I literally just had this conversation about balance (or lack thereof) with my mother. (By the time you’re reading this, this conversation will have taken place around 10pm last night.) I was telling her about my artwork and this week’s page for Queen’s Rogues and the other stuff I’ve been working on for the comic when she asked me about my writing projects. I told her that I hadn’t written for about a week, because I’m terrible at balancing the various things (creative or otherwise) in my life…

Which reminded me that this post is due. Today. I had forgotten about it completely.

So now I’m sitting here, typing this directly up into the drafts at 10:08pm the night before it’s supposed to go live, and I have no idea what to say. Balance had never really been my forte, and it especially isn’t so when writing or other creative pursuits are involved.

More than that, I feel like so few people I know have figured out the balance. Oh sure, some people have figured out how to fake it really well, but it seems like whenever you get a chance to talk to them, they pull back that curtain on the mess that is their lives. You see that their perfectly balanced life was just an act, and they’re really just frantically juggling things like the rest of us. I take comfort in that.

Still though, it’s an unpleasant feeling, going through life like that. I can only hope that someday I’ll find a happy medium for myself.

(Excuse me. I just heard the dryer chime go off. My sheets are done, which I will need shortly in order to make the bed which I will be sleeping in tonight, because I haven’t even gotten that done today either!)

Okay, I’m back.

So it’s been said before by Rebekah and Michelle, and I have a feeling that Serena and Lissa are probably going to say the same thing. My life is a kind of all-or-nothing game. I personally like to call it binging, because I feel like that’s what I do with everything. When I clean, I binge clean. I clean for three days straight and dear lord the house has never been so spotless.

And then I do the bare minimum for the next, oh, twelve months.

When I watch a tv show, I will literally avoid it until some mood strikes me and I watch all five seasons in one weekend. Because that’s totally healthy.

I will not even go into the subject of food.

My art and my writing, however, are a little more complicated. Because for whatever reason, I have them set opposed to each other. They are like the north and south poles on a magnet. They cannot get too near each other. There must always been this neutral buffer zone between them. (My mind is supplying me with something-something Star Trek Romulan treaty zones).

So far I have managed to get it down to a weekly sort of switch. One week, I am a flurry of artwork. I have about a day off, and then it’s six days of writing. Either that, or I will binge and do art for 48 hours straight (usually Sunday and Monday) and the rest of the week I… vegetate? I don’t really do much of anything. I may write a paragraph or a couple of lines here and there, but… honestly nothing more significant than that.

And that’s the best I’ve gotten.

I still feel like, at least with me, if I can get some sort of routine down, I could balance it better. Treat it like… I hate to use this word, but if I treat it like a chore that must be done, then perhaps I can actually get it done at a more healthy and varied pace. I’m very good at telling myself that the dishes must be started by 10am (fyi: I go into work at noon, so this is completely doable for me), so why can’t I apply that to my other pursuits?

As of 10:26 on this very harried Monday night, I haven’t been able to do that yet. But who knows? Maybe someday I’ll get there.

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