I’d be lying if I said it was great to be back at my day job after being off for so long (12 weeks). It really was a very difficult week for me. Physically, my knee was more sore this week than it has been in a while. I’m tired from all the early mornings, especially with getting my girl off to pre-school at 7:30 a.m. and my nose is stuffy from the drastic drop in temperature that happened mid-week. Emotionally, I’m frustrated because I’m tired of my legs hurting all the time. I’m a little sad about my baby starting school. And, as strange as this may sound to some, I miss my characters.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel very blessed that I have a job to go to that provides me with a comfortable standard of living, friendly coworkers and security in the fact that I had a job to go back to after such a long absence. But, while I was off, I was able to complete the second book in the series I’m working on, as well as get another stand-alone book almost finished. These two things bring my novel count to 3.75 completed manuscripts. A feat I’m very proud of, yet I feel like I still have so far to go.
As I was saying, I miss my characters, because both the series and the stand-alone are not finished, I feel like I abandoned them. You may think, ‘well, you know how the story is going to end, so you know the characters will be fine’. Yes, that’s true, but isn’t the journey what’s important, not only in real life, but in novels as well. After all, that’s why people read novels, for the journey the story takes them on.
So I guess what I’m saying is, I miss the characters’ journey. I miss the daily contact with the characters and the thought process I go through to get them from point ‘a’ to point ‘b’. I miss the writing routine I had developed that helped me get as much done as I did. But most of all, I miss the freedom to write when an idea struck me, especially since I had a major idea hit me on my way back to the office from lunch one day! (Let me tell you, it was hard to get any actual work done that afternoon…but don’t worry boss, I still did everything I was supposed to.)
While I realize that becoming a published author will not make me rich, and I will most likely have to keep my day job for years to come, I mostly just want to be able to find balance. I want to find a way not to feel so tired at night that I can’t keep my eyes open long enough to type anything worthwhile. I don’t want my stories or my quality of work at my day job to suffer because I’m distracted by one or the other. And I don’t want to let anyone down, whether it’s my boss, my family or the characters I’ve created.
At this point, balance is elusive. But I’m determined, even if I have to suffer through a few miserable days as I find a way to make things work. I know I can do it. I know I will do it. I’m not giving up on my dream to become a published author just because I’m tired, or my leg hurts, or I had a bad day at work. And I’m also not going to let the other areas of my life suffer just so that I can become published.
So how do you find balance? What does and doesn’t work for you? Please share and maybe we’ll all find balance together.