Sunday, June 23, 2013

Balancing Work with Passion

In the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling with this question:

How do I balance what I need to be doing to survive with what I should be doing to achieve my dream?
A little back story… Three months ago, I took a second part-time job (who’s offering full-time jobs these days?). It’s a steady position with set hours. I kept my part-time position at a retail bookseller where I’ve been for almost five years. The schedule there varies each week; sometimes I work 15 hours a week while sometimes I’m close to 30. Many times (already) I’ve had to work doubles and even weeks straight without a day off. It’s affected my health, happiness and of course, my writing. However, I’m finally able to pay my bills and save a little something every month.
So, where do I draw the line between happy, healthy and pursuing my dream of being a YA writer while working two jobs (up to 50 hours a week and 19 days straight at the longest) to keep my head above water and build my savings?
Here’s where I’m supposed to share my brilliant, poignant, life-changing answer, right? Except I don’t have one. There isn’t a solution, perfect or otherwise. In short, I don’t know what to do.
I know that big quit-my-job (at least one of them) moment won’t happen for me. There are solid advantages to both positions. I’ve thought a lot about which one I should pursue further, which one I would keep if it came to that, but there’s no easy answer. Ideally, someday in the future, I would leave both jobs and be able to make a living with writing. Then my passion would be my work. However, I'm not there yet. 
On an optimistic note, there are a couple things I’ve done/plan on doing that may help.
1.       Say “NO”            
This is the classic: “No I can’t pick up that shift.” “No I can’t take on that commitment.” “No I can’t do this/that/the other thing.” Unless it's family or writing-related, I probably shouldn't take time away from writing for it.

2.       Kick my boyfriend out (temporarily)
We spend time together most days of the week, but occasionally I should take an hour or two from our time to spend with my words. And he can spend it with his music.  
Basically, I’m tired of using my jobs as an excuse not to write. It’s like justifying ignoring my passion by saying work is more important just because it pays the bills. And that’s just depressing. The end-all-be-all is that my writing is should be a need. It needs to be a need.
               *scurries off to work on that*

Are you in the same position, struggling to balance writing (or your passion) with everything else? How do you take on that challenge? Let me know in the comments!


  1. As a recovering over doer who recently declined a full-time teaching position for the upcoming school year, I understand your frustration to find work/life balance and your rationale for two jobs. By saying "no" you allow time for your passion to write. This is wonderful. All the best to you!

  2. Thanks so much! That must have been a tough decision to make. The work/life balance will probably (unfortunately) always be frustrating. But writing about it helps, for me at least. And hopefully one day it will feel less like a walk along a high wire and more like a stroll in the park. All the best to you as well!