Yesterday was a life balance day. I worked intensely to meet a self-imposed deadline related to Christmas then kicked all the way back. First a birthday dinner with our son, then two wonderful hours spent reading while watching The Voice. On my desktop a new project (“A Christmas Story”) has been untouched for two days. In the mess on my physical desktop two cover mockups for Leaving Ashwood screamed for attention. But my mind wasn’t willing and a whole lot of little aches from a good morning workout pushed me toward goofing off.
What I should call that is two hours of achieving balance which sounds a whole lot better than two hours goofing off. January’s Simple magazine arrived last week with the entire issue dedicated to the elusive topic of achieving balance. When I was a corporate manager I taught other corporate types all about setting priorities and living purposeful lives in Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I knew the tools and theory behind a life with balance, but had two kids, demanding parents, and a fledgling creative writing life. So in that era I kept three “To Do” lists, each on a different color paper, representing the different buckets of my world. No matter how much I wanted to begin with the end in mind, life balance remained another pressure without much pleasure.
Writing doesn’t forgive days spent away from task. Writing group gathers whether you met the Sunday deadline for circulating materials. Publications don’t flex on submission deadlines. If you don’t write, stories are as attractive as cars without tires. Writing is not unlike dragging around an unfinished graduate thesis while academic deadlines approach or disappear. Walking the stage is a personal goal and responsibility. Do it or don’t do it.
I still make weekly lists. One is for the stuff of life like buying my son a birthday card and is written on whatever notebook needs to be finished. One is for my work with lots of time for writing, less time for meetings, submissions, research and such. This one is written on specific legal pads.
Last night I goofed off. This morning I feel guilty (a little) and refreshed (a little). So at least my feelings are balanced. Cross off ‘write new blog’.