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Balance. It’s a word that a lot of us talk about…a lot of us yearn for…and sometimes it feels unachievable.  Lately, it's been on my mind a lot...probably because I would like to find more time to write...or my writing is eating into the time I spend with family...or because, well...my daughter is applying to college, and we don't yet know what that will mean.  Well, maybe I do.....It means I probably need to start looking for the perfect DAY JOB...you know, the kind that pays pretty well, doesn't tax my energy too much, and still gives me time with family, writing, husband, time for errands.....

sigh.

Balance is not just an issue for women, but we seem to have a bigger issue with it.

No offense to male writers, but I never hear men complaining that they are having trouble with balance...but if you are, welcome to the club!

For the last year and a half, I have been lucky enough to be "living the dream."  My husband makes a nice salary, which includes insurance.

I teach for writers.com.

I recently sold a book.

But that may not be enough.  More money may be necessary.   I have figured out that I am not all that prolific.  Revision takes me a long time. 

PLUS, it's hard to write when you don't know how you are going to pay the bills.

 

It brings up a whole host of questions, none more important than: what will that mean for my writing? My last job all but stopped the flow.

 

Today, let's all pat ourselves on the back for what we do.  For the list of jobs we accomplish every day.  I have long felt that those unpaid jobs can also be categorized as unappreciated jobs...not by our family...but by us.

Think about it!

How many of these jobs do you hold?  How many do you brag about?

 

 

A wife

A mother

A writer

A teacher
A chauffer
A housekeeper
A bill payer

Anything else?
 

A volunteer
A substitute teacher
A coach

What are YOU trying to balance????? 

 

So, how do we make it work? How do we make time for writing? How do we reach our goals? How do we have time to get our hair colored?

 

This week, we will be talking all about balance and how to get it. 

Special request:  If you have new and unusual recipes to feed a family and require less than thirty minutes prep time: please post.

-Sarah Aronson, who almost forgot to post, because she was too busy doing other things....like writing!

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Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
aprilhenry
Oct. 5th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
You should totally check out the book Desperation Dinners. That book saved my life when I was working full time, writing a book a year, being a mom, etc.

Some things that helped me were not watching TV, getting less sleep (although that hurt in the long run), and reading on the exercycle.
saraharonson
Oct. 5th, 2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Things to avoid
Thanks! I will check out DD. I cannot write if I'm not exercising.

My big time waster? (so embarrassing.) Huffington Post. And Daily Beast. Addictive!

Ug. I spend way too much time reading nothing.
aprilhenry
Oct. 5th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Things to avoid
That's only okay if you have a day job and you're doing it there. Stuff like that saved my sanity when I had a corporate job.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 5th, 2009 07:03 pm (UTC)
The Mood
Since I write during naptime, which varies and isn't necessarily long, I try to set the mood for creativity by pampering myself with hot tea, a nice cheese, or a small piece of dark chocolate. I relax and settle into writing mode.

Here are some awesome, healthy breakfast for dinner recipes. I have several recipes on file, but I would have to email them. Please let me know if you would like some quick & yummy recipes.

Lindsey S.

http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/recipe.php?recipeId=351

http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=477471

MIL's Goulash (isn't unusual but is yummy/healthy)
ground turkey or beef
onion
garlic/real or powder
elbow macaroni
30 oz tomato sauce

Cook the noodles
Cook the meat and onion together, add garlic, salt and pepper (if you want)

When the meat and onion are both thoroughly cooked, add tomato sauce and let simmer

Pour sauce over noodles and top w cheese
We like to use colby jack.

This is super cheap, takes 30 min max, and my husband and I like this betterthan spaghetti
(To speed things up use onion powder)
saraharonson
Oct. 5th, 2009 07:18 pm (UTC)
Re: The Mood
Yum!!!! All recipes are welcome at my email:

sarah at saraharonson dot com!!!!

I love the idea of setting the mood--especially when time is limited. It can help snap us into writing mode--with a lot less lead time!

Thanks, Lindsey S!!!!
rockinlibrarian
Oct. 5th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)
I haven't figured out how to make it work yet. That's my biggest problem right now. But I'm not sure if this is something that just comes with the territory of having Two In Diapers and I just need to wait it out and stop stressing so hard!

But here is a surprisingly tasty for how extremely simple and quick it is recipe for tuna tortellini I tried last week. Of course, that requires you to have tortellini on hand. I just had regular chunk light tuna in water, but I just drained it and let it sit in three or four tablespoons of olive oil while the pasta was cooking and then dumped it all in and it still tasted great. Maybe it would taste even greater if you follow the recipe's tips for Good Tuna, but it's not necessary!
saraharonson
Oct. 6th, 2009 01:08 am (UTC)
Two in diapers? How do you get your shoes tied?

:-)

(I loved those days, but I couldn't have been a writer during them.)

In general, I think we expect too much from ourselves. One of the best pieces of advice I have received was in response to Kate DiCamillo's two pages a day rule:

2 pages a day? Try nine lines a day. Or nine words. If I make progress, I'm happy.

Thanks for the recipe! (I don't have tortellini on hand, but I'll go get some soon!)

s
jennifer_j_s
Oct. 6th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
I think the ideal of balance may be a myth, so that chasing it as a goal is futile. But you do need to make sure that everything you are doing is what you want to be doing, and shed those things that are not fulfilling to you.

Don't be afraid to say no. I used to have that posted by my telephone.

Cooking Light magazine is doing quick recipes each month, so you might want to check it out. I don't cook--except on Tuesday nights--so I'm not much help there.
saraharonson
Oct. 6th, 2009 01:10 am (UTC)
I just started reading Eating Well. Cooking Light sounds like it will work, too.

Balance may be a myth, but feeling good about your accomplishments--and forgiving yourself when you don't get everything done-- is essential. That's really the goal, isn't it?

And saying no IS something I'm getting used to.

s
jennifer_j_s
Oct. 6th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
Forgiveness as a goal--I think I like that!
tamilewisbrown
Oct. 6th, 2009 12:34 pm (UTC)
I know you struggle with doing it all, Sarah, but from the outside you are one of the most well-balanced, accomplished people I know- brimming with energy and actually getting the job done, not just talking about it.

Keep up the GREAT work. And don't beat yourself up.

ps I don't even try to make anything that takes more than ten minutes prep during the school year. I know it's not spread nationwide but Trader Joes has saved my life, family dinner-wise.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 6th, 2009 07:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Cooking Light
You can get tons of great recipes off of myrecipes.com.

This includes Cooking Light and Southern Living magazines as well as a few others. There is even a tab for quick recipes.

A trick I've realized in the last few months is how much the freezer is my friend. I'll make a large batch of whatever and set aside enough for my family in the freezer. Then we don't get sick of it and I have a quick, healthy ready to defrost meal waiting for a busy week. I freeze muffins, bread, pasta, you name it. :)

My friend makes PB & honey sandwiches ahead, freezes them in their little ziplocks and takes them out the morning of the day her family will eat them. So, if you're putting together lunches for school or work, you can do that ahead of time and drop it in their lunchbag the morning of...

I'll comb through my tried and true recipes and email them to you.

Lindsey S.
(Anonymous)
Oct. 12th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC)
Needed this!
Hi Sarah:

I had a minute of breather and wanted to check what the world was doing...and found the perfect post to keep me going.

Writers need to find time to write. Squeeze in time to read. And not to talk about finding time to chat about the latest WIP and 'that' scene which never works!


Comforting to know several of us are in the same position.

Thanks much.

Rani
saraharonson
Oct. 13th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: Needed this!
Rani, I am constantly trying to reinvent my sense of balance. Whether it's the kids or other responsibilities, it takes work and creativity (and energy) to make sure I get my writing done. Funny, I've been feeling quite productive the last four weeks. Sometimes having LESS time...and reading A LOT is good for me!

xo s
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )