Writing fiction and juggling everything else in your life is a challenge. Many of us part-timers have day jobs, families, religious duties, fitness routines, volunteer duties and more to juggle. A few of us even have social lives.
Not only do these non-writing activities take time; most of them come with people attached – people you care about and so can exert a strong pull on your attention. It’s not that they’re bad people, or against you; on the contrary, they value and support you (thus proving their judgment astute). Chances are, you want to accommodate them somehow and in some cases, you must (or, say, get fired). Is it possible to juggle writing and everything else in your life?
I think so, because I’ve been doing it for nearly two years now. Here are some guidelines I hope will help you.
Set your priorities
Take some time – preferably before you start this whole crazy journey – to think about what’s really important in your life. What speaks most to your core values? Spending time with your family? Devoting time to religious duties? Maintaining your health and fitness? Excelling at your full-time job? Writing is bound to be in there somewhere, but be sure it’s in its proper place.
Let’s assume you make family number one. Then, on those days when you have to take little Nimrod to the doctor instead of writing your 1,000 words, you’ll have the comfort of knowing you did the most important thing. You’ll be able to get back to writing the next day with a lot less anxiety. The same goes for ditching something that’s a lower priority in favor of your fiction.
Do your best and be happy
The surest way to make yourself miserable in your craft is by trying to live up to some impossible standard of greatness. I wasted years trying to measure up to my literary heroes before I wised up and took my talents just as they were, instead of trying to shape them into somebody else’s mold. I’m not suggesting you throw grammar, style, plot, character, etc. out the window. I am recommending you apply yourself to all aspects of your fiction to the best degree of which you are capable and then letting it go. Not only will you be happier, you’ll get a lot more writing done.