Trying to find a new balance

A recent return to a full-time working week, has reminded me that I’m extraordinarily bad at finding balance. You could say that I’m always swinging perilously close to one extreme or another.

“I either feel 100% in control or not at all, and while an all or nothing approach can work in some circumstances, I just don’t think it suits a writing lifestyle.”

I get frustrated when I’m not able to dedicate as much time as I’d like to my writing, and perhaps that feeling is intensified right now because up until recently my weeks were ALL about the writing.

My owl has better balance than me.

The main trouble with getting frustrated at my lack of writing time, is that I often don’t make the best use of what time I actually do have available. I tend to get caught within a frustration bubble, where I’m always wanting more and not just making do. I’m trusting that as I settle into a new work routine, that I’ll eventually accept and adopt a more flexible writing rhythm that squeezes itself into the space between my other commitments.

For now though, I’m doing my best to just go with the flow and stay positive. Every day I try to do at least one thing that will progress my writing – whether that’s to start a story, write a blog post, send off a pitch, book in for a course, clean up my portfolio, or join a writing community – whatever it is, big or small, it makes me feel that I’m at least achieving something.

I’m reminded of Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine, all of which are great but one in particular has been of real help:

“When you can’t create, you can work.”

Word up, Mr Miller. Incidentally, if you’re not already a regular reader of ‘Brain Pickings‘, you really should be. However be warned…you’ll probably end up adding lots and lots of books to your already lengthy wishlist (I know I have).

So until some sort of manageable balance miraculously appears in my life, I’ll be applying the simple philosophy of ‘doing something is better than doing nothing’. Unless you have any tips for walking the tightrope of life without losing your balance? All I can say is, thank goodness for safety nets.


  1. Kylie

    I get caught in frustration bubbles too – sometimes I think I waste too much time worrying about time (and not having enough of it)! I find comfort in some of the PhD support posts that are out there (like this one: They are not completely on point for you, but much of the advice can be applied to writing in general. (Although come to think of it, the advice is probably similar to many of the writing posts on brain pickings, which I like as well)

  2. woolf

    ooooooh…. those brain pickings, i guess…
    you seem to be time managing just fine. and i believe it is good to write this down, as a note to oneself as well. it makes sense, is what i mean.
    good luck at juggling, tracey!

  3. Andrew


    I’m trying to find a good balance as well, and I hope you do.

    We have cut out telly between Mon-Thur, and some chores that we leave to the weekend, we are now doing in the evenings.

    All the best


  4. Camila Faria

    I love the 6th commandment, but it’s a very hard one: “Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.”

    Thanks for the Brain Pickings tip, I’m hooked!

  5. Linda Ogier

    Balance is such a hard thing to find sometimes isn’t it!

    It’s hard to make a major change and try to make everything work. It’s so frustrating when you feel you have to neglect something that’s such an integral part of you, even if it’s only a little bit.

    I’m struggling with sleep patterns again because of that. I’ll fight being tired because I want to stay up later and focus on ‘my stuff’…. but then when I’m awake at 6 in the morning after only getting to bed around 1.00 am, I’m not real happy with the state of affairs. My day at work is then not as productive as it could be because I’m stretching myself too thin.

    I need to step outside of myself and give myself a stern talking to about bed times – lol.

    I hope your days even out and you manage to find time, or at least manage time so you can fit in what you crave to do.

    Beats me how people with big families keep up with everything!

    Linda. xox

  6. Rol

    Having started full-time teaching last month – while still in teacher training too – I’m finding myself in much the same predicament at the moment. Not a moment to be creative… I don’t have much free time, but I do squander some of it. Then again, I think wasting time is good for your mental health… you can’t be focused 100% of the time, you do need time to do nothing.

  7. Hila

    I don’t think ‘balance’ ever magically appears – and I often find those who espouse grand philosophies about it in self-help books and the like do so without the context of real life. I feel very much like you. I feel frustrated, frantic, stressed and out of balance most of the time. However, I figure if I continue to have the desire to write, this is just part of the deal of living – it may not be fun all the time, but it’s reality.

  8. Sarah

    Are you reading my mind? This is exactly how I feel. Working full-time is like putting my writing self in a can. But I will say that as writing hours have grown drastically shorter, they’ve also increased in enjoyment. I actually come to my writing with a kind of relief that I didn’t have before when I had all the time in the world.

  9. bobbi

    Sister, I understand you sooo well. I am bad at finding balance too, and I need to keep a strict routine to keep on going with a certain rhythm. Otherwise I get lost, totally. But you know what they say, acceptance is half of the job. Knowing that I am unbalanced makes me a little bit better at finding it. I know what to search for.

    Thank you Tracey for your post about Max…I know you understand me. Thank you.

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