Monday, April 22, 2019

Life Balance

In addition to having written three novels (the third, Graveyard Bay is scheduled to be released in September), I have a day job.  I’m the president of the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce here on the Crystal Coast.  It’s a fantastic gig.  I’m the cheerleader for one of the most beautiful places on earth.

In itself, that’s a full-time job but additionally, I sit on numerous boards (economic development, public school foundation, transportation committee, downtown development, juvenile crime prevention, etc.).  On top of that, this year I’m the president of the Business Alliance Protecting the Atlantic Coast, BAPAC,  an organization representing 42,000 businesses and 500,000 commercial fishing families from Maine to Florida.  This group is dedicated to doing what its name says,  protecting the Atlantic Coast, primarily from offshore oil and gas drilling and seismic testing.

When do I get a chance to write?

Sometimes early in the morning, even before the coffee is brewed, I might be jotting a few thoughts down.  At lunch, while I’m wolfing down a chicken salad sandwich at my desk, I’ll knock out a few sentences or rewrite a paragraph.  After work, before I start making dinner, I’ll hammer out a page or two.

Where I do the bulk of the writing is on weekends.  Before my wife is up, I’ll walk down to the ocean, then come back and work out.  Then, I always have breakfast with Cindy while we read the multiple newspapers we get on weekends.  Yes, we still enjoy getting newspapers delivered to the curb and spending time with them at the breakfast table.  And we always find something interesting to talk about.

Then I’ll go upstairs to my office over the garage, dither for a while on the internet, look at my watch and figure I’ve wasted enough time.  I turn on some ambient music and begin work in earnest.

A balancing act.

Luckily, my three children are grown.  I don’t have to drive them to soccer practice, or help them with their homework, or take them to the park or the beach.  More time for me to write.

Unluckily, my grown children and my grandchildren are a long way from where we live. I would love to see them more often.  But the fact that they’re not here gives me more time to write.

I take time for the things I enjoy doing.  I love reading (I’m nearly finished with Don Winslow’s The Border, a 720 page thriller I can't seem to put down), and I do all the cooking.  Something else I love.

Cindy and I make certain that we spend time together and with friends, we watch movies on HBO and Netflix together, and every couple of weeks, we go out for dinner.  This part of North Carolina has some world class restaurants. And being the president of the chamber of commerce, we’re often invited to events on weekends, most of them revolving around food.  It’s a wonder that I don't weigh 300 lbs.

 Writing is a solitary adventure, but life is meant to be lived with the people you love.

Knowing that this is Easter weekend and my wife’s birthday, this blog will be blessedly short. My advice is this: write when you can but always stop and smell those flowers.  It’s springtime here, and in our little patch of the world, the flowers are spectacular.

1 comment:

Sybil Johnson said...

Great advice. I struggle sometimes to balance it all, but I'm learning.