So, last night I was at my local RWA meeting and NY Times Bestselling author Julia London was speaking-- on ten pitfalls of being a writer. A number of things she said struck home to me, but one of the ones that hit me hard was when she talked about how hard it was to find a balance between work and home.
Because most writers work at homr (me included) she said it's very difficult to keep home from encroaching on work and vice versa and boy, could I relate to that. Currently, my office is a small, 200 square foot alcove off the upstairs game room (where my three boys have every gaming system known to man plus a whole bunch of toys. The two rooms are connected by an archway and I don't even have a door--which means if they're playing Wii or watching Iron Man or fighting with lightsabers, I know all about it. It also means I know about every disagreement, argument, fight, injury, whatever that they and/or they're friends are involved in-- while it is happening.
This makes for a very unconducive work environment, especially since when my husband isn't traveling, he works at home as well. And no matter what boundaries I set up, none of the four men in my life seem to understand them. They think that because writing comes fairly easy to me that it isn't really work-- that the fact that I've written three books this year and have two more to write by June 1st means I'm fast, not that I'm a total maniac. And they all have a tendency to think that they're dinner/snack/crisis/schoolwork/football game/karate lesson/ art class whatever is a reasonable excuse to interrupt my work-- yet if my husband is working the whole world has to come to a stop. It's frustrating in the extreme.
At the same time, I know I'm guilty of not separating family and work time. Very often in the evenings-- after I've made dinner and played with the kids-- I can be found typing away instead of hanging in the game room playing a game or watching a movie with the rest of the family, which annoys all of them. I try not to feel guilty about it, but it's hard. At the same time, it's hard to get my words every day when I'm constantly being interrupted-- so often, it feels like I'm in the middle of a vicious cycle. If I don't get my words in, I have to work at night. If I work at night when the kids want my attention, they're more likely to interrupt me the next day to get what they want. And on and on it goes ...
Now, I'm a relatively new writer, my first book hit the shelves less than eighteen months ago, so I'm hoping that a lot of these problems will work themselves out with time-- I just need to find what works best for my family and me. Plus, once my youngest goes to preschool next year, I figure things will get a lot smoother during the day. But I have to admit, with summer looming and four books to write by September, I'm a little leary about how this whole thing is going to work. After all, last summer was an unmitigated disaster!
So my question today is this: do any of you have trouble balancing work and home commitments or am I the only one who can't seem to find that balance?