Yesterday I touched on my struggle to balance “real” life and my creative life. I feel like it’s a pretty common concern, especially for artists who work a “real” job to support themselves. You can’t half-ass your real job just to give yourself the time and freedom to live your creative life. With any luck, you actually enjoy your “real” job, so you want to do good work and dedicate time and mental capacity to it.
That’s where the struggle intensifies. I love my real job. I’m pretty lucky that it doesn’t involve too much take-home work, so I can usually leave it all at the office and come home to have some time for my own life. I’ve worked hard on that, though. I can check my work email from my computer, but not on my phone. I used to always set up work email to come to my phone, but then I found myself checking it after hours, and even if it was a request I couldn’t get to until I was physically back in the office, it would consume my thoughts. I burned out at a lot of jobs very quickly due to that lifestyle.
I’m also lucky to have a very sweet son. He loves to play on his own, or look at books quietly while I work at home. He’s very independent and can accomplish his own tasks, but also likes to help me with chores around the house. So my home workload isn’t as heavy as it could be, and I know it will only get lighter as he gets older.
But still, I struggle to carve out time to be creative. After being a night owl most of my life, I’m dead tired by 8pm. So I go to bed right after my kid, and wake up early to be creative instead. Having extra time in the morning has been nice, but I still feel the day, and all that needs to be done, pushing down on me, so it’s easier to just put my creative work aside and get on with things.
At this point, I want to keep up my daily writing habit, but I also want to edit work I’ve already written. I feel ready to query agents with one particular novel, but I know it needs some cleaning up. The problem is, it’s so hard to make myself get on a computer these days. When I’m home, I’d rather be doing things around the house, playing with my son, going on walks, reading, etc etc etc.
So I know I’m just whining into the abyss, and the problems could easily be solved with me pushing myself to get on the computer 30 minutes a day and give up a bit of reading time, or write during my work break (which is never guaranteed) instead of in the morning, yada yada yada. But sometimes it just feels good to put it all out there and let everyone know how I’m trying to juggle things, so you can give me some insight on your juggling, too.
That being said (and thank you for reading this far!), how do you make time for your “real” life and your creative life?