Sunday, 13 October 2013

Work/Life Balance - Why Do I Have to Choose?

After two weeks of holiday I am prepping for the return to work. I'm stretching the ol' plate juggling muscles, warming up the analytical bit of the brain and creaking my patience meter back up to full. The time off has done me good; I was ready to explode before it, a big brain-splosion that would have covered everything and everyone in grey, sticky matter. I also go back knowing I have another week of holiday due before the end of the year, so will hopefully avoid any meltdowns before the festive season.

It's funny how work can get under your skin, even in ways you don't notice at the time. I only appreciated how frazzled I was when I suddenly didn't have to do anything for a fortnight. It's got me thinking the eternal questions, mainly "Is it worth it?" And I think it is, in my case. I like the people I work with. I like the new office location we just moved to. I even like the company, even though at times I am bamboozled by their choices. The actual work side of it keeps me busy, even if it isn't what I want to be doing forever. These are all things for me to be grateful for, and to keep in mind when I start to wonder if the grass is greener elsewhere. And yet...

These last two weeks have had glorious moments of writing and drawing. I mean, absolutely joyful, time flying unawares, glorious. Though there are still plates to catch the numbers aren't as numerous, and more importantly they are all my plates. Everything I've done has been for me and me alone, which sounds really self-absorbed and selfish but it's incredible the difference it makes to how you feel about the work. Because writing and drawing is work. It's all a learning process and requires the basic and yet difficult decision to stick your arse on that chair and to not move until you're done. On the bad days it seems like it takes an epoch to get started. Once it begins to flow though... it's a little experience of Nirvana.

I've also really enjoyed spending so much time with my significant other. Normally we barely see each other, but with him being between jobs and me being on holiday we got to spend significant time together these last couple of weeks. It has not escaped my notice that this would likely be the norm if the writing thing was a main activity of mine.

With the not-a-short-story in progress, and another one percolating in my head, I hope to have something else submitted before the year is out. I've been slack this year - writing has not been top of the priorities after the kind of work days I've been having - and I intend to change that before this year is out. With the new office location I'll be saving an hour a day in travelling, an hour that could be better invested in getting words down. Or at least making sure I take time out each day to chill, so I have more inclination to write.

My major dilemma is that I want my day job to change, to be something I find more engaging, but to keep writing on the side. I even know what I'd like my day job to be and I'm taking on extra tasks to get me the experience I need for it. I fear though that having such an engaging day job and writing stories in my spare time may not be compatible, whether it's inevitable that one overshadows the other. I want to believe that it is possible. Especially as I really don't want to have to choose between one or the other. So the next few months are going to be proving to myself that it is possible, that I can have my cake and eat it. Even if I have to have a cupcake, there must be a way to balance so that I don't have such a division in my work/life, and instead just have a life. Watch this space...

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