Move Slow, Find Balance

Finding balance is not something I am particularly good at. For the most part, I am a woman of extremes. All in, fast and furiously committed, singularly focused. When I get bored or tired, or things don’t happen fast enough, I move onto another task with the same ferociousness. The cycle repeats. We are cyclical creatures, are we not?

My attempt at living life this way has proved useful and a bit successful. My career has been a good one, and that wouldn’t have been possible had I not spent sixteen hour days coding. When I am obstinate and persistent in my desires, things move fast and easy because of that lack of balance. I am finding it hard to continue on this path though as work demands (learning new software and impending deadlines) and personal demands (writing a novel and my attempts at becoming a published author) are now a bit at odds.

Within the writing context of my life, there are tasks that I must balance as well. There are finite hours in a day to write (having hours with which to spend writing is quite a lot, I know). Do I write here on this blog? Do I plan my novel? Do I write scenes? What of the morning pages that seem to clear my head and gather my thoughts for the day? Typical me would eschew everything for one singular thing, whether that’s the novel or the blog or even chucking it all to focus on the career.

That, however, is not balanced.

This blog is a way to feel part of a community. It is a way to keep myself accountable, I suppose. There aren’t many visitors or followers; I wish WordPress had a way to hide the Stats page, so I am not incessantly drawn to viewing it (“You like me! Right now! You like me!). What do I care how many people visit and what posts they are reading? The comments mean more to me. But comments infer a dialogue and that conversation can’t start without writing. It’s sometimes hard to bang out 750 words a post (as is the case today). Blogging allows me to take a break from speaking with characters and living in this world entirely made up by me.

This is a balance, yes?

Rocky Mountain cabin, ca. 2009

The mornings I’m not planning out the novel or writing scenes, I write in my journal, which is a lovely break from having to be coherent. The page’s topics jump from the Nor’easter on Tuesday, which bleeds into the storm that locked me inside for almost a week in the Colorado Rockies. Which then gets me thinking about the man that lived next to me and fondly remembering the slightly inebriated, sticky, sweaty night we had a few weeks before I moved. Writing stream of consciousness, sussing out the many and varied feelings I have over a span of time, and gaining tiny insights into how I operate is a valuable experience.

This is balance too, yes?

Then the actual writing and thinking of my novel. If I’m honest, it’s an almost constant thread in my mind; this world I have created and the characters in it. They’ve been trying on different clothes, speaking their truths, telling me about their pasts, letting me know how they feel about the world I’ve built for them. I outline and re-outline the novel and, since this is something I’ve never done before, I think, “You’re wasting time Nicole!” I have discovered though that I need to know the major plot points before diving in to write the first few chapters, lose interest, and abandon it. Deliberate action to bring the characters that only exist in my head to become real people with real needs.

This is the balance.

Finding balance means that I will probably not move at the breakneck speed I am accustomed to. My achievements will come more slowly. But maintaining this balance preserves desires. I am less apt to burn out and give it all up. As in my last post, I must practice patience.

(Why must we relearn each hard-fought teaching? Why, through countless days and fretful nights, do I tend to forget? Each lesson is new, over and over again. I am an amnesiac upon waking every morning, fumbling through the same mistakes, seeing the world with new eyes. Being an eternal optimist, at least I don’t hold grudges.)

So it goes. Balance begets patience. Patience begets results. Results beget fulfillment, in one form or another. Maybe that’s all smoke and lies. If so, I’m okay with the balance.