Monday, November 23, 2009


I've often fancied myself a writer/editor type who jumped at the career change to freelance to be able to spend more time with my two young children. But this premise leaves me with a few life balance quandaries.

In the abstract, the hierarchy is simple: family, freelance work, housework. But the reality is a little different for a couple of reasons.

The first, quite simply, is that the housework interferes. Taking care of the kids and he spouse requires a fair amount of maintenance housework—at the very least, daily kitchen duties and laundry. And the dining room table needs to be cleaned to make a space for board games and crafts. And how can we possibly make a train track if the carpet hasn't been cleared and vacuumed?

Add to that my natural aversion to working amongst a mess—something I've had to simply overcome, because the alternative means I'll never get anything done.

My writing life can be just as big a mess as my house. First off, I'm a split personality, craving the money producing freelance work and the time to enjoy writing and editing my fiction. I need the freelance work, because there's something properly fulfilling about getting paid for something I like to do. But I also believe that achieving success in the fiction market requires keeping regular hours as a fiction writer. In essence, writing and editing daily. Treating fiction as my business.

That can be a real leap for me, because I often feel I'm stealing time for a "hobby" (god, I hate that word) because I'm unpublished. And wouldn't it be more productive to be cleaning house right now?

Well, I'll admit this is all mostly rambling because my core plan remains the same. I will still opt for writing over laundry often enough to keep me balanced and hope my spouse can forgive me when my absentminded approach to chores means I've accidentally stained his favorite college t-shirt (yes, really. Sorry, honey!)

What are you balancing in your life?


  1. I completely relate to this one, Portia. I often tell my husband I can get two things done each day, whether it be cleaning, writing, something special with the kids, making a nice dinner, working out, etc. Only two of those seem to happen on any given day, and when writing projects are on the table, then, of course, housework suffers. That's the nature of it.


  2. You're so right. Two seems to be my limit too. My biggest problem is that I seem to have this idea that everyone does more than I'm doing. Isn't that crazy?

    As you said, it's the nature of it. :-)