The Off-Balancing Act: Making Time for Art

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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.

You might notice that for this series we posted out of our normal order. This would be because on May 7th I jumped on an airplane to leave the country for awhile and wouldn’t be back until very late the 25th. I believe it was sometime on May 5th that I panicked and finally realized amidst working my day job, packing, and cleaning house that there was absolutely no way to make this post happen before I left. Quick messages went to Serena and Eris and they kindly agreed to each post a week early, giving me the spot to wrap up this whole series… how appropriate!

I have the exact opposite problem of Serena (at least in some ways) when it comes to balancing art vs. life. (Click here for her post if you haven’t read it.) I find it extremely difficult to allow art any time in my life when there is laundry to do, errands to run, dinner to make, and a puppy to cuddle. In short, if there is literally anything I should do (or think I should do) that is not art… I am convinced that must come FIRST. Let me tell you how many times I have gotten every corner of my house in perfect order so that I had time to write…

I’m not quite sure why I’m this way, but it’s been me for as long as I can remember. Responsibilities come first, and I’m brilliant at coming up with an absurd number of responsibilities. I guess I feel like I’m ‘cheating’ at life when I take time away from all of the ‘should do’s’ to do anything creative. I have a hard time convincing myself that making art a ‘should do’ is okay. Encouraged even, when one wants to become a creative artist of some kind. It’s hard to be a poet when all one does is dishes…

On my personal blog I brought up this topic back in January. (You can read that post here if you’d like.) When I began this year, I wanted to devote time to trying to find a happy creative balance in my life. The first step in doing this was figuring out when I was spending time on creative things (reading, writing, blogging, other creative pursuits) and how much time I was giving to them. That’s what I’ve been tracking for the first half of this year. The numbers are dismal. No wonder I’m not getting anywhere fast!

But it’s been good for me to see what I’m accomplishing and what I’m not. I’m starting to notice a trend of when I do creative work most easily, how long of a single sitting still gets me productivity, and what things I am and am not giving time to. It’s hard to set new goals when you don’t have a firm grasp of where you already stand.

I’m going to keep up with tracking stats, so to speak, through the end of June. Beginning with July and the start of the second half of the year, I’m going to do my best to give myself new challenges to start altering the allowances I give creativity in my life. I don’t expect to ever achieve perfect balance. No one has that. But by being aware of the time I am spending on creativity out of the available time that I have, I can learn to be more productive in chasing my dreams.

All creative artists look for some sense of balance between their ‘real’ life and their ‘creative’ life (although each artist has a different sense of where they want that balance to lie). How are you supposed to achieve that personal sense of balance if you don’t even know how your time is being spent?

Do you know how your time is being spent on the creative pursuits in your life? Are you anywhere near the balance of life vs. creativity that you want to achieve? What are you doing to find your own balance?

The Off-Balancing Act: Words Tip the Scale

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.

I? Am terrible at balance. (No, really. I am incredibly bad at this in many areas of my life.)

As a writer who writes every day, you might assume that I have actually figured this balance thing out and have some tricks to share. (People certainly have before.) That . . . is unfortunately not the case. By a long shot.

In fact, writing may be just about the only thing I have to ‘balance’ on a regular basis that never falls by the wayside entirely. (Now balancing different projects and types of writing? . . .that’s another story.)

When I have serious things to handle and address in Real Life, I . . . often throw myself into writing all the more in spite – or to take refuge. I handle things that I absolutely have to . . . mostly. Sometimes not quite when I meant to.

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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.

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The Off-Balancing Act: The Power of Baby Steps

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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.


When you’re a writer, it’s easy to be inundated with advice. Most of it is well-meant, and much of it works for many people. Some of it, though, can come with a somewhat… demeaning edge.

You aren’t really a writer if you don’t write every day.

That’s probably the one I’ve struggled with the most.

But… that’s ridiculous. Because that’s like saying a doctor isn’t a doctor unless he sees patients every day. Yeah, right.

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Introducing… The Off-Balancing Act Series!

Yes, that’s right, it’s time for another series from the RRFS! (Please note, 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.)

Do you ever feel like, no matter what you do, you can’t find creative balance? There’s always chores to be done, meals to be cooked (and, most importantly, eaten!), people to see, places to go… How does one do it all?

Well, sometimes you just don’t. And we Ferrets have, appropriately, not even started on this particular series yet (I’m writing this the evening of April 25th, and it will go live on April 26th). We usually have a series mostly written and pre-scheduled at least a couple of weeks before the introduction goes live. Oh well!

The fact is – sometimes you can’t do it all. But you don’t have to lose your creative balance just because you’re overwhelmed, but it’s okay if you falter a little.

So every Tuesday in May, we will take turns discussing how we deal with being creatively off-balance. Stay tuned!

Is your creative life on- or off-balance currently? If you could change one thing about your creative struggles right now, what would it be?