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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.
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.
Of course everyone has a range of strengths and weaknesses, but these are the two that definitely stand out from the rest – one way or another – for me. These two actually seem, to me, to be almost easy to get as diametrically opposed skills – case in point, both myself, and, at the other end of the spectrum, Rebekah.
In writing, as in everything, we all have our strong and weak points. The key is focusing on your strong points when you doubt yourself, and to allow your strong points to help guide the work you do. Discovering your strong points can help you discover your niche (or niches, as some of us have more than one) and find where you create your best work.
Your weak points, on the other hand, are not something to bring you down. They are the guidelines for telling you where you need the most practice or research, or sometimes they are the key to keeping you from wasting your time on a project that will never be your best work and your heart really isn’t in.
So what are my strengths and weaknesses? As I grow and work, these change, but for now… Continue reading