Monday, July 13, 2009

A Balancing Act

Recently while doing a video interview for to promote my novel, "A Marriage of Convenience", the interviewer asked, “With a full time job and a growing family, where do you find time to write?”

Off-handedly I joked, “Sometime between midnight and six am.”

Since then I have thought long and hard about how my perception of an author has changed over the years. As a child, I perceived all authors as wealthy individuals sitting by pool sides tapping away at their typewriters (yes, it’s been that long) while their maids served them drinks. Of course at that time I mostly read well known prolific authors like Carolyn Keene (Nancy Drew books) and Enid Blyton.

I remember when I was about nine years old telling my mother I wanted to become an author. She smiled at me and said, “That’s good.” Then in her subtle manner of manipulation she proceeded to tell me a story of a local author who was trying desperately to sell his books on the street. He was poor and hungry and often had to resort to pan handling.

Needless to say I pursued a different career in a stable, more predictable field, my perception of an author now one of the starving artist. However, the dream of being an author was never far from my mind. Now that I have decided to explore that avenue and live my dream, I realize there are many novelists who are very much like me. Yes there are the prolific well known ones who can catapult a new author to fame with just a blurb; and there are the starving authors who anxiously hope that a publisher accepts his manuscripts while the bills mount. But for many authors we juggle a full time job, a family, and a writing career. It’s a balancing act. Where do we find the time between working eight plus hours a day and taking care of those we love to write?

For me, the writing begins long before I even sit in front of the computer. My stories play out mentally (sometimes verbatim) while commuting to work, preparing meals, even taking showers. It doesn’t mean that I don’t go blank when I sit in front of the computer wondering why I'm drawing a blank when it was so clear in my head just a few hours ago. Most of my actual penning of the stories occur sometime between my kids’ bedtime and mine. But overall, it is a delicate balance that I have to strike between my job (which I enjoy), my family (which I love and adore) and my writing (which is my passion.)

So for other authors juggling career, family and passion, “When do you find time to write?”


KeVin K. said...

Oddly enough, your answer is not that different from my own.
When my wife is working nights, I'm usually asleep by 8PM and up at 3AM -- from 3-6 I have three solid hours of writing. When my wife is working days, I'm usually down in the dining room typing during the evening while she's watching Army Wives or Dance Your A** Off or something similar on TV in our bedroom. I usually sleep from midnight to 5 (sometimes 6) then get up and beat the morning rush hour into the office for another hour and a half of writing before the rest of the agency arrives.
I try to get in three hours of writing a day, but the reality is often closer to 1-and-a-half or 2 when you deduct internet fact checking, etc. I get more done when I take my agency computer home to write. It doesn't have wireless, so I can't get online.

Anonymous said...

I write whenever I can - usually during the week. However, sometimes I don't have a choice - my characters start talking and I have to stop what I'm doing (showering, driving, putting on my makeup, sleeping, etc.) and write it down.

I know that if I don't write it down I'll forget. Trust me, it has happened before.


Phyllis Bourne said...

As a child I wanted to be a supermodel. My dad said (lied), "When you finish real college, I'll send you to supermodel school."

I prefer writing in the overnight hours. With the coffeemaker going, music blasting and every light in the house on 2 am feels just like 2 pm.

Liane Spicer said...

I'm with Phyllis here. I don't do mornings - unless I work through the night and catch them unawares!