Balancing Act

We all do this. Balance. Women are especially good at balancing. We juggle the responsibilities of being a parent with a job every day. Now, add to this juggling act the process of becoming a published author and it adds a new difficulty level. For years, I wrote stories. I wrote when the children were taking their naps and after they went to bed. I wrote while waiting at basketball practice and piano lessons. I learned to write when they were playing. Of course this was more difficult, but not impossible. We all make sacrifices. For instance, the dishes did not always get done on time, or the toys were not always picked up as quickly as the previous week. Once I began my stories, I had to continue to write them. The voices in my heads did not allow me to do otherwise.

What are those voices? If you are a writer, then you know exactly what I am talking about. The voices of your characters who demand to be heard. You cannot just turn them off when you close the lid to your laptop or press the shut down button. The voices will haunt your sleep. They will talk to you in the shower, and they will even speak to you when you're in the middle of a big meeting at work. Balance.

We learn to balance those voices. To ignore them when necessary and then to pull them out, like recordings, when we have the time to devote to them. No matter how hard we try, we cannot just turn them off indefinitely. And, as a writer, why would we want to turn them off? These voices have been in my head for so many years, that I carry around a notebook just in case they start speaking and I have the time to devote to them. I even carried around a tape recorder for a while so I could record what I needed until I could get to paper and pen.

My family learned to adjust to this writer personae who lived in the house with them. My children knew that when I was typing, they had to wait to interrupt me and ask questions. My husband begged me to buy a laptop so I could spend time in the same room with him. It didn't matter if I wore earplugs while I listened to my music at the same time. As long as I was in the room, he was content. And so was I because I could write.

The dishes got done. The wash was finished. And I wrote.

Now comes the next stage. A stage I have been shying away from for too many years. Publication. Another phase of the balancing act.

For too many years, I knew there wasn't enough time to become published. My children demanded too much attention. They were involved in so many activities that the thought of leaving them to travel around the country to promote my books just did not seem feasible. See how the balance works here? I knew that to add one more ball into the juggling act would not work for me. So, I continued to write, adding book after book to my long backlist in hopes that when the time was right, an editor would be more than thrilled to take me on as an author.

So, I am ready. Like a juggler who has been practicing their latest act before showing it to an audience. I am ready to add published author to my repertoire. Wish me luck – or should we say – break a leg?

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