A Balancing Act: Work, School, and Writing

Currently listening to: Parachute, by Cheryl Cole

The second half of December was a nice break for me. My contract at work expired, just as I had arranged with my supervisor. Classes were over. I had all kinds of time! And naturally, I spent that time working on my writing. Overall, I had a pretty productive holiday, as you all know, since I kept you updated as I made more progress.

I managed to get Songstruck officially published in paperback.

I formatted the ebook version and approved it, making it available for purchase through all sorts of channels.

I made some substantial progress on the sequel to Songstruck, though it’s nowhere near the point where I’m seeking out beta readers. There’s still a lot more written now than there was before my break started.

Unfortunately, I’m in the middle of my interim courses now. For those who don’t know the horror of interim courses, they’re college and graduate courses that are shorter–only about three weeks long–and take place during what normal students would consider to be “break”. In this case, winter break. These classes also tend to involve hastily throwing together a few papers and presentations. So that’s where I’m at now: hastily throwing together about four different assignments, one of which has to be a fully-researched APA-style paper. I have a headache just thinking about it. Logically, you would probably think, “So, Sofia, you’re probably working very hard on those assignments, right?”

Nope. I have three tabs of research open in one browser, this blog and tumblr in another, and I’m browsing iTunes. I also spent a good four hours today working on a new short story for Quarter Reads (which I finished! yay!). My time management is all out of sync, because it’s so hard to make myself care about the things I need to be doing. The particular classes I’m taking during this interim session aren’t particularly interesting, or particularly well-taught. It’s a shame, because they could have been interesting. And the assignments are just…it’s a disproportionate amount of work given how short the classes are and how little material is actually being covered. But starting tomorrow, I need to get myself set straight. It’s all a balancing act–carving out enough time to finish all of my assignments and devote attention to class properly, while still finding time to work on things I really enjoy, like writing.

Of course, at this point, writing is more than just a “thing I really enjoy”. It’s a thing I also earn some money doing and hope to continue doing professionally. Even my friends and family have finally agreed that writing is more than a hobby it would be “nice” if I had time to work on. Now it’s as much as a commitment as my graduate courses. They’re both work I’m putting towards my career. It’s just that they’re both different careers. I can’t neglect one to work on the other. And so, along with the beginning of classes, the balancing act also begins. If I spent too much time working on one thing, the scale will tilt too far and the work I have on the other side will start to slip.

It’s awful, trying to keep the balance. Especially when I find myself more passionate about one commitment than another (that even happens within the school obligations–if I care more about one class than another, I risk letting work for the less-favored class fall below my standards). It’s a struggle, but it’s all worth it in the end.

Hopefully. 😛



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