When I was in high school I juggled multiple activities: competition baton twirling, being a majorette, concert band, dance lessons, Honor Society, teaching dance and twirling, and church youth activities. I had a full plate you could say. How I was able to do all of the above and maintain a 4.0 GPA amazes me even today.
So why am I bringing up high school?
Because I'm back to juggling again, only this time it's independent contractor jobs. With the bum economy, I definitely need to make a buck (or two or three or several thousand). And I like the flexibility of working for myself rather than doing the nine to five thing.
At the moment I'm teaching Zumba and Water Fitness classes for the city's Parks & Rec, I recently received Continuing Education Course Provider status from the Aquatic Exercise Assocation (AEA) and will be leading water fitness workshops soon, and I'm running an eBay boutique. In addition to all of this, I take care of 11 companion animals and clean my own house which is a large Victorian home. The home and pet responsibilities easily require 20-hours a week to keep everyone alive and maintain a modicum of order and cleanliness. I am definitely not a clean freak, but there's only so much pet hair I can tolerate on the hard wood floors, furniture, and computer!
So when do I write? (And no, I am not a proponent of the skimp on sleep to write idea. As an older athlete my body requires 8-10 hours of sleep every night.)
When DO I write? When I can. I'd love to be able to write every day, but I need to be able to focus, and sitting down for half an hour a day just doesn't cut it for me. I need several hours in row to be an effective writer. It's an interesting juggling act in the same way the Chinese used to say, "May you live in interesting times." I'd prefer to be able to focus on just writing, my pets, and one other job. But at the moment, that is not to be.
What I do is check my progress every month and ask myself, am I moving forward with my writing? That is, am I finishing projects and submitting them? It might take me longer these days to complete a novel or a blog or my newspaper column, but the goal is eventual completion. As long as I'm moving forward, then that's really the best I can ask for at the moment. Making myself ill or crazy trying to maintain strict deadlines on everything will just burn me out and put me in the hospital or nut house.
And there's the added benefit that at some point I'll use my crazy schedule in a novel. If my life had a theme song, this is what it would be. Cue "Sabre Dance."