Shannon Hale has a blog post here about how she balances being a writer and mother. She takes her writing very seriously and has found a way that works for her and her family. Obviously that way won't work for everyone.
At the end of the post she challenges everyone to make the time for whatever passion they have, suggesting that if we turn off all our extra stimulation (internet, tv, computer games, etc) for one week we'll find we can make time for creativity. She encourages us to be hard core and to take ourselves seriously.
I think this is a wonderful challenge because I believe there are people out there who want to pursue a dream but don't know where to start. Well, the best place to start is to sit down and do it. Following a passion or dream will invariably mean sacrifice of some kind. Each of us has to choose what is sacrificed, though. What are we willing to give up? And is extra publication and popularity what we give up for other parts of our lives that we deem more important?
Are you hard core? Do you take your writing (or art, or gardening, etc) seriously? How do you balance the need for self expression with life and family and everything else? After reading her post I'm curious to see how others do it. Balance is elusive, even if achieved for one perfect second it can't be maintained because life and priorities are shifting and changing. But, if we're serious about ourselves we'll find a way.