Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Balance and Sacrifice

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.

31 comments:

  1. I find that cycles are the best way for balance in my own life. ie, I set aside electronics for 12 hours, a day or 48 hours periodically -- the shorter more often, the longer less often -- in order to guard the wellspring so that when I go back to work, I have been inwardly replenished. I place an enormous premium on inner stillness. I only have one daughter and she's almost a pre-teen so said stillness is more feasible for me than the mother of say two or more children around pre-school age. We all do what we can, when we can.

    Great post, Sara.

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    1. I think life always comes back to cycles.

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  2. Like all things in life, pursuing our passion means rearranging priorities. And priorities change with the different stages of our lives. We all have to find what works for our current stage of life--without guilt or regret.

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    1. Without guilt or regret, that's the important thing. We can always find some way that we should have done better. What we need is to just accept our decision and live with it.

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  3. It's very difficult and I never did well with balance when my children were home. Although I wrote off and on and sold a few stories to a children's magazine, had some short essays published in our local paper, I couldn't do a book. There was just no way with my large & demanding family. So I'm making up for lost time now that they're grown which was my plan all along.

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  4. It takes a lot of discipline, but anyone can do it. Giving yourself a daily (or weekly) word count, keeping the same time every day as "writing time"...just some sort of guideline can really help make a difference.

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  5. I confess that I struggle with balancing it all. My full-time job and family duties come first and the writing and social networking have to come after that. I find I'm spending too much time on the social networking and not enough on writing. I did take an Internet break while on vacation and it felt good. I'm probably going to try to limit my blogging some days to very little, like on weekends and one weekday at least so I get a little more writing and relaxing in. I have very little relaxing time and life's too short not to have some down time. Great topic, Sara.

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  6. I have some friends who constantly complain about how "busy" their lives are, yet they impose -more- activities on their lives and time.

    People need to relax and I think there is always time to find time to do what you're passionate about.

    The myth of "I just don't have the time" is, just that, a myth...in my opinion. Unplugging from electronics is a great start, too!

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    1. I've seen that too! I always want to say, if you dislike it so much why are you doing it? I've always thought we find time for what we really want to do. When we look at how we spend our time we sometimes get a surprise as to what our priorities are.

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  7. I think I have balance but then life throws a curve ball and you just have to go with that and look at the big picture. :) I think the Dora version of life is probably a good philosophy-- just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...

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  8. Everything in life is about balance. Or I call it juggling between things you have to do and things you want to do. I schedule in play time into have to dos. Family time into have to dos. I schedule rest time into have to dos and writing time into have to dos.

    After all what are you working all the time for if you don't have time for what you want to do. Writing is a want to do but also from a financial stand point...it is also a have to dos.

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  9. For me it's always been that if I really wanted/care about something I will MAKE the time for it. If I don't cut something out then I'll never find time for anything!

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  10. Does external-imposed breaks count? ; ) I think my two week break from the internet after my foot surgery will do nicely.

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  11. Balance is really hard to obtain with a toddler. It's all about him these days. Yet I make time to write, and I'm very serious about my writing goals. I've given up a lot of other things I do in my free time, even some time with my husband. I'll be able to balance things better when my son is in school full time, but for now, to achieve what I want, some things have to be sacrificed.

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  12. I think it's also important to remember that balance is fluid and shifting. One day, I may be able to spend most of my time writing and push my other responsibilities to the side, while another day I can't write as much. Each day seems out of balance, but on the whole, it works out.

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    1. We do need to look at things as a whole. If we look at any part it seems out of balance and skewed. It's only looking at the whole, and looking at the results, that we can get a good idea of what works.

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  13. I loved that post! And balance is soooooo hard. I'm still learning to attain it. I guess going through phases helps. Like right now, I'm not obsessive about it so I can focus on other things too---but there are times when I get so wrapped up, outside life starts to suffer. Gah.

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  14. I am heading over there to read now. I admit that I have a constant struggle with finding the balance of motherhood and writing. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Great post! I struggle with balance. I want to do everything I set out to do and do it perfectly... and life doesn't work that way. I have been very careful of how much time I spend watching tv or playing on the internet. It has freed up some valuable writing time.

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  16. I'm about to re-prioritize so I'll have more time for writing. Time to kill things!

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  17. I am HARD CORE! ROCK HARD!! :)

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  18. I still haven't figured out the entire balance thing with my life. Some days are better than others. I'm a work in progress. Great post!

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    1. Aren't we all. And what would be the fun in being finished? If our lives were a finished work the only thing to do would be to stand there and let people look at us. Very boring.

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  19. great question... though I'm always available to my family... I sometimes feel I neglect them when I'm in the zone.

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  20. I guess one of the sacrifices I make to find time to write would be that I sometimes neglect the house chores. I saw a quote somewhere, can't remember where, but it said something like, "Women with clean houses don't finish novels." Makes sense.

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    1. Love the quote! And very true, at least for my house.

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  21. Hey,

    I *love* these balancing posts - because it is an area I am sorely in need of balance.

    With WIP#2 underway, I am *trying* hard to get my "work" done before I "play" on Blogger, Twitter, etc. :)

    Happy Fourth, Sara - and thanks :)

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  22. Balance, my ever-elusive, perfect prize. It's easier (although still not easy) to achieve some measure of balance now that that the kids aren't kids anymore and the demands are in some ways fewer. But it's still that longed-for goal that remains just out of my reach. Perhaps it's the reaching that matters.

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  23. I'd like to think I'm hard core. Now that I'm an official reviewer on a website, that's another responsibility. Partially why I took a break for a month to figure out where and how to spend my time. Not only do I need to write, but also keep up the blog and watch stuff to review. This month is the test run to see if that balance is working. :)

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  24. Is it a cop out to say my problem is not balance but motivation?
    I have no trouble making time for writing when I'm drafting happily in a notebook. I'll get up early, use a lunch hour, whatever it takes.
    Typing up the story is exciting too, finally seeing it on screen.
    And then printing it and editing on paper, fun with the red pen!

    But then - that's when reality hits. Now all those edits have to be typed in, worked on, scenes fleshed out and cut, character motivations analysed, etc. If I could do it all on paper it would be perfect, but just getting home from a long day at work, doing chores and making dinner and then sitting down in front of the computer from, say, 7-9... Instead of reading, or checking twitter or blogging, or hanging out with friends... well, that's the hard part.
    I took last week off from work and it was perfect - get up at 8, read till 9, make coffee, and sit down to edit before doing anything else. I wish I could do that all the time!

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  25. You are so right Sara. Balance does change from second-to-second. It is very difficult to maintain.

    When I first started writing I gave up everything! Worked for two years, sixteen hours a day on it. After gaining over fifty pounds, I had enough. I took my life back. I Learned that we must balance our passion/obsession for writing with our every day lives, or else, our quality of life is not worth the sacrifice for our craft.

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