Life is a juggling act. We all do it, there are masters of the art, beginners of the trait and last but the lease those who just get by, AKA, the medium.
That’s where I am. The medium. I have not mastered the art of multitasking. It’s more like magically shifting my attention from one thing to the next and back again. With writing, a day job, household duties, girlfriend duties, and family life there’s a lot of balls to keep up in the air.
I’m not a mother of children, although I one day hope to be. Right now my motherly duties are taking care of two vivacious mixed beagle breeds. They need constant monitoring, a routine and my nurturing/spoiling. My personal life aside from my career is pretty low key. I have a small group of friends, a large family and I spend a lot of time with them. It's a simple city life and I’ve grown to love it.
As far as my career goes, I write books and have full time day job and here’s the thing for those lucky enough to be able to do both things at once— I commend you. I’ve never felt like I’ve been succeessful at doing both things at once. When the books are doing well, work suffers, and when work gets busy, as it has been this month, the books suffer.
Most of the time I feel like everything suffers. I'm sure that anyone who has tried to juggle a day job with a side project can relate to this feeling.
One of my high school teachers Dr. Lasky once said “If you need something done, get a busy person to do it.” At the time he was holding my A hostage unless I agreed to join the academic decathlon, but sure, years have pasted and I can see his point. Being in a constant state of busy does tend to inforce a certain kind of time management into you. I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that if I can only spare a couple hours a day for a particular task, it is amazing how much I can cram into those hours.
I know for a fact that keeping your day job, dream and sanity alive is possible. Anthony Trollope for example wrote for three hours every morning before going to his job at the post office, which he kept for 33 years during the publication of more than two dozen books. Not impressed yet?
How about William Faulkner who wrote As I Lay Dying in the afternoons before clocking in on the night shift as a supervisor at a university power plant. He found the nocturnal schedule easy enough to manage: He would sleep in the morning for a few hours, write all afternoon, visit his mother for coffee on the way to work, and take catnaps throughout his undemanding shift.
Despite the overwhelming feeling of despair it can be done!
Having a job is a rewarding aspect of life designed to give purpose and discipline and… who the fuck am I kidding? You go to college to get a job, you get a job to pay for college. Chances are that this job you’re in doesn’t have anything to do with what you went to college for. Its life, you deal.
I like my job, love it because it allows me to have a balance between life and work. However, not everyone is so skilled at striking this balance. Writers have it easy compared to other struggling artists. Think about it a novelist or poet can write for as little as an hour a day and make significant progress, but painters and composers? They need to spend more time with their work; fitting it in before or after a day at the office is trickier than just sitting down for a couple of hours.
At the end of the day maybe, and just maybe there’s a blessing to this writing curse. An artist who can make up their mind to do something like spend three quarters of their life being an compliance associate and another quarter being an artist … has to live a pretty unique life style. Right?
Humor me. It’s all I have.