March 2022 Updates and the Ever-Elusive (Nonexistent) Work-Life Balance

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com

Where have the first two months of 2022 gone? I’d say I’d wish for more than 24 hours in a day, but honestly I’m so exhausted I have no idea what I’d do with even an extra 30 minutes. Probably lay awake in bed, thinking about how I should be doing something more productive. So, let’s take advantage of this lunch hour writing time and pen my March 2022 update!

Arguably one of the most exciting things that have happened in my life during 2022 has been signing with my literary agent, Eva Scalzo of Speilburg Literary Agency. I’m beyond excited to send my dark YA fantasy into the world and hopefully/ultimately into your hands.

Signing my contract with the fabulous Eva Scalzo. Photo credit Elaina B.

I received a lot of love for my announcement on Twitter, which was awesome. The Writing Community is such a supportive group. I even received a handful of compliments on my mug (which I loved) and my writing space/appearance (which is not the whole picture).

Because here’s the thing–I’m not put together at all.

Just out of the frame, there are boxes of diapers that need to be unpacked and taken to the nursery and boxes of maternity clothes that need to be stashed in a closet somewhere. Zoom out a little farther, and there’s a disorganized side table laden with board games to my left. Hidden beneath the table, I’m wearing my pajama pants, which at any given moment have a 25% chance of having baby spit-up on them. I’m also wearing eyeliner for the second time since March 2020.

My sister snapped the photo in two takes–that’s all we had before the baby started warbling to be held and the toddler demanded more raisins (because bribing her is the only way to get her to eat her veggies and even then it only works half the time).

So, yeah, I’m totally guilty of cropping out the real-life around my thrilling announcement.

Work-Life-Writing balance is a myth. I don’t think it exists, at least not without some kind of superhuman planning and support system. We all see the same things on social media–people looking effortlessly flawless while they conquer their mountains, which is awesome for them but honestly makes me feel like crap. So in case you’re feeling down like me, here’s how I manage it.

Spoiler alert: it’s not graceful.

I’ve mentioned time management and intention setting before, so I think the easiest way to “have it all” and minimize overwhelm is to consider your priorities. For me, the kiddos are number one. Next, the full-time day job. Takes up a lot of time, kind of mandatory, I’m lucky that I have the best bosses ever. Between those two main priorities, my day is claimed from 5am through 8pm (or whenever the toddler finally runs out of excuses to open her bedroom door and craps out). After 8, I have a little time to sit and decompress/eat dinner, then pump for the baby (which is the worrrst. Seriously if you pass by a nursing mother, give us an oatmeal cookie, we’re friggin’ starving). As soon as I’m done with that, it’s straight to bed because I haven’t had more than 3 continuous hours of sleep since 11/18/2022 when my smiley little nugget graced the world with her presence.

Which leaves my lunch break for everything writing related–outlining, drafting, revising, catching up on emails, and of course these little updates.

So what am I missing out on that I wish I could do more? Running. I’m running a 9.3 mile race tomorrow, which is longer than what I’ve run in all of 2022 added together. Tomorrow is going to involve a lot of walking. And I’m perfectly okay with that. Things will get better–one day I will be able to reclaim my 6am-7am writing time. One day I will be able to run more than 9 miles over the course of 2 months.

But today is not that day. Or week. Or month.

Hopefully year. Yeah, hopefully the little nugget sleeps through the night in the next year.

Basically my message is that sometimes things have to slide, and that’s okay, as long as you’re intentional about it. Just make sure that you carve out time for the important things, and if writing is a high priority for you, 30 minutes a day is better than no minutes a day (and you can always plan plot points out on the toilet, assuming your door locks and your toddler understands the concept of privacy).

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