The Quest for Balance

I am determined beyond measure to balance my time wisely between work and writing. Ironically and abashedly I had all the time prior to my new job. I had a set writing time with a writing group friend three days a week from nine to noon during which the first three months I was cranking out pages with fierce velocity, nothing distracted my concentration. Then in April the momentum slowed, life happened with mundane and not so mundane crap. I resorted to Netflix bingeing and Internet surfing, succumbing to the much dreaded slump and non-motivating behaviors writers encounter.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa, knows the balancing agony oh so well….

During the Pandemic, my discipline was amplified while babysitting my infant granddaughter, whom I would plop on my lap while my fingers hit the keys as if I was performing Vivaldi’s “Summer” from The Four Seasons. I was on fire! Nothing was getting in the way….

In my writing groove with infant perched on my lap

I’m almost there, the glint dimly shining at the end of the tunnel. I can do this. I can’t fret over lost time and I will not dare rush hastily. It’s been over ten years now and I know I can, not think I can, know I can finish and sigh relief, even knowing it’s finishing my shitty first draft. That’s ok. The revision process has always been enjoyable for me, knowing the actual writing is complete. Last Monday night’s writing group was a few number. One of us is trekking the Denali snowy capped mountains of Alaska with a group of mountaineers. He gifted us with a cool (delayed response time) video to watch their progress, another has been busy with her real estate business (market is booming people) and the other one lost her beloved mother, mourning the loss and spending family time with funeral arrangements. Life happens to everyone, but we all maintain our singular goal of persevering through the good and bad of times and when we’re ready to get back into the groove of things, we show up wholeheartedly. It’s not always easy.

One of the members shared a book he’s been utilizing to navigate through his project called “Wired for Story” by Lisa Cron. I was excited to hear his thoughts because I too, own this writer’s guide along with her other book titled “Story Genius,” also utilized by another member (my writing partner on Zoom) who praised glory on the latter. So, uh oh, the dreaded, “so,” screw it. So, at her recommendation I purchased “Story Genius” planning to read and follow the prompts for story writing using brain science, explained in Lisa Cron’s words: “Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story and what keeps the readers transfixed. “Wired for Story” and “Story Genius” reveal these cognitive secrets–and it’s a game changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper.” I’m hooked by that phrase already as a writer and avid reader.

Lisa Cron’s Story Genius and Wired for Story

I’ve provided hyperlinks on the two books aforementioned, if interested. They will take you to the Tattered Cover Bookstore based out of Denver. This is an independent bookstore and I’m a huge advocate for independent book shops. I know most people gravitate to Amazon and if you do fine, I’m not affiliated or an affiliate with Tattered Cover, however I am a huge proponent of giving my money to the non-conglomerate book sellers. Another independent book store I adore and love visiting is Bookbar based in the Tennyson Street arts district of Denver. The ambiance, wine and food are delectable and the support of local writers is deeply empowering and inspiring. The Denver Arts community is strong and I’m proud to be a part of it, as a Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop member. Both stores are linked below. Photos are not mine, but merely to share and encourage patronage if interest piqued. They do ship out of state.

Tattered Cover Bookstore (photo credit: unknown)
Bookbar (photo credit: Bookbar)

I’m wrapping up the end of the second week of full time employment with a hot bang (it was 95 degrees today, is it summer already?) I’ve submitted to writing group for next Monday’s night meeting with the next installment of what they’ve read up to date. I’m ahead by four chapters and trying to keep up the story propulsion. I’ve completed Chapter 25 and started Chapter 26 tonight. I’m doing a happy dance in my seat, fist pumping and air high fiving because I did it and while being sick (fell ill due to some heavy pollen in the air that kicked my sinuses to the curb, but heavy loads of Emergen C, zinc and homeopathic sinus medicine along with rubbing some peppermint oil on the back of my neck helped immensely and much needed resting naps this weekend.) I’ve submitted AND met my weekly goal. In my writing group we share three minutes of our past week (personal and writing related) and report on whether or not we attained our goals. We set weekly goals to hold accountability if we can and if for unpredictable reasons couldn’t, then we either carry those goals forward or set new ones. Some of us have daily/weekly writing count goals, some chapter completions (these are usually mine) and others, writing research including some leisure reading. I’m excited to share my good news of finally completing a chapter I was stuck on for the past three weeks. I guess working a full-time job was the much needed motivator I needed to enforce discipline.

The desert heat is dropping to the mid-80’s now and the crickets chirping at dusk signal it’s time to wind down for the evening. I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead. Happy Writing, Happy Reading, Happy Arts, Happy Photoshooting, Happy Work, Happy Life, whatever floats your boat, hope it brings you happiness.

Sandstone Ranch, Longmont, Colorado at dusk March 2021