June 30, 2012

Finding a 'Write' Balance - Susan Barclay

I met author Bonnie Grove at a conference a few years ago, shortly after the publication of her amazing book, Talking to the Dead. I was impressed when she mentioned that she wrote while raising her children. I know there are authors who do it, of course, but one of the challenges I face as a writer is balancing writing with all of the other responsibilities I have as a wife, mother, daughter, part-time employee, and volunteer. I asked Bonnie how she managed to do it.
‘You’ve got to treat your writing as your job,’ she told me. ‘Make sure your family knows it’s your job, and that you need their help in order to do it. Get them to do some of the things you’re currently doing so you don’t have to carry the chore load alone.’
I have to admit that this has been easier said than done for me. Maybe I don’t have sufficient backbone; maybe I find it less stressful to do the jobs myself than to have to cajole others into getting the work done. My husband was already helpful and supportive, though I’m sure he gritted his teeth often when he’d come home and find ‘nothing’ done. My kids, now teens, support me more in word than in deed. They think my writing is great and they love that I’m published, but they don’t ‘get’ how important their practical help is to me. And they think they have enough work of their own to do, with high school assignments and tests, necessary extra-curricular activities, and community service hours to earn before they can graduate. They do have a lot on their plate, I admit, and they’d like to get part-time jobs to earn money for post-secondary education as well.
Still, my daughter will be in grade 12 this fall. She’s doing a summer co-op from the end of June to the end of July. Soon she’ll be applying to universities. Her study habits are excellent, and she’s giving her co-op %100 effort, but she’s aware that she wrestles with a spirit of laziness when it comes to helping out at home. I understand her struggle, but I don’t help her by doing for her what she can do for herself. And so I am finally nudging her toward greater independence. She is capable of making her own lunches; she can prepare her own breakfast. She can put things away after herself.
My son will help more readily when asked, but lacks endurance. Recently he asked me to pray that he would ‘ace’ his math exam. This after months of neglecting to hand in assignments or study for tests. I could not pray as he asked, but willingly prayed that God would help him to remember what he had learned and that he would have peace and a clear-thinking mind.
I heard it said recently – Charles Stanley, I think – that God doesn’t do for us what He has equipped us to do for ourselves. This is true. As someone who pursues the call to write, I must do what God has equipped me for, and encourage others to do what He’s equipped them for as well. It may not always be easy, but as I remember to look to Him, He will enable me. In my weakness, may He make me strong (paraphrase 2 Corinthians 12:10).

Please visit my website at www.susan-barclay.ca 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.