For folks who've embraced the writing life, the idea of "writing" and "living" as separate categories doesn't always make sense. Writing is life, right?
Absolutely, but that synthesis doesn't always flow the way we'd hope.
Right now, I have far more writing time than most of my peers. I don't have any kids. I don't have a day job. I'm an insomniac.
But throw together my writing time with my author time (publicity, appearances, this very big Web site, etc.), and suddenly, life and writing conflict. I want to write, but out-of-town guests are incoming. I want to play, but my muse won't let me go.
Essentially, writing children's books for publication is a form of self-employment. I never worked as hard for anyone else as I do for me and, I hope, for my readers.
I believe in balance. I don't always achieve it, but I do believe in it.
So, what am I getting at? Try for the balance.
Make sure you write. It's not selfish to treat your writing time like a job. Don't let others infringe on it. Don't let anyone assume that you can take off whenever. Your muse is your boss. You have to listen to her.
If you're blocked, go do something. As long as you have a good schedule, there's nothing wrong with taking a break now and then to explore and enjoy life.
If you were a painter, everything you had ever done, seen, smelled, heard, felt, or imagined would be on your palette . . . right next to everyone you've ever met or dreamt about. Give yourself permission to load up on new paint now and then. And good luck with that masterpiece.
When you find the secret . . . when you know where the balance is . . . write and let me know. I'm still looking.