The Art of Juggling — Writing, Parenthood and Work

Juggling is an art. It requires skill, patience, practice. That’s what I’m trying to learn right now. How to master all those balls that need catching. Not only that but the quantity of things that require juggling are expanding, reproducing like gremlins fed after midnight. And we all know how quickly they got out of hand!

The thing about juggling is that if you’re not well practiced, some of those balls fall and stay fallen unless you learn how to pick them up. At the moment, for me, that dropped ball hiding in the long grass is writing. Amongst motherhood, work, life, family, friends it’s the one that seems to have slipped from my hands and I’m finding it tough to get it back.

It’s not the will that’s the problem, although my motivation is not as strong as it has been. But that’s happened many times before. That’s the practice of writing, there are crap days, weeks, months. And there are lulls. Usually, I just write through them, but now there’s no time. It just seems to go as if sucked away by a Dementor.

When I was a full-time mum, I used to make nap times my writing time. I was disciplined. I had a habit. Now it’s catches of time, like this one on my daily commute, which at a train journey of 12 minutes doesn’t leave much time for reflection when typing. But I think the biggest hurdle of all is I am writing all day in my job. It’s what I wanted, it’s enjoyable, it’s a challenge. But it sucks the words out of me, and when I have free time the last thing I want to do is write something else!

So, you see my dilemma. I am juggling and failing at it. Maybe not the most important bits, like feeding and hugging my son, doing my best at work. But the feeding my soul bits. I wish I was that determined I woke up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning and got one hour of writing in. I wish I could turn the TV off and mull over words instead. I easily could do these things, but I don’t yet. Because it’s about juggling, and there are all these new balls I didn’t know existed. I’ll eventually find my way back and pick up the one hidden in the long grass. I just need an experienced juggler to tell me how.

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