This week I found it difficult to balance my writing with all the rest of my life. Its not that I didn’t want to write in fact sometimes my brain demands that I get my thoughts and stories out on the page, waking me up in the middle of the night to grab hold of a note pad and pen. I just submitted my second book and need a little time to formulate how I want to launch the next one. My work as a teacher, a career that I love and that also pays the bills, my housework, taking care of my health, mental as well as physical, maintaining relationships and writing are all important and deserve my attention. I am sure I am not unique in this struggle to find the right balance between all the things that clamor for time. So what did I do, I picked up a book to escape to. It was not a fast paced thriller, fantastical world or dreamy romance. I did choose from my endless stack on my nightstand a book for writers, so I could count that as working on my writing career. It was a book my mother had given me for Christmas, The Shy Writer Reborn, by C. Hope Clark, I had the good fortune of being introduced to her as I was working on my first book and subsequently read her mysteries set here in our beloved South Carolina. I had passed on the information about the books to my mother who became a fan, bought the books to give friends for Christmas and found The Shy Writer Reborn in the process. This book was written for writers as encouragement, nuts and bolts and sensible advice on how to pursue the writing life. As usual it seems the universe was guiding me to find some answers to my balance quandary and in Chapter 7 The Shy Writer Reborn refers to priorities set forth by the Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s book The Freelancer’s Survival Guide and there on the pages was a framework to balance out the areas of your life with your writing, of course this was for folks who are working as writers full time, but with a little tweaking I found I could definitely use this framework to define my priorities. Then today in my classroom, my students worked in pairs using balance scales to compare objects. If you have ever worked with these scales you know that an exact balance is extremely hard to reach, and we settle for extremely close often in our comparisons. This brought me to the thought that balance is not an exact science, it is an art. At times the scale tips a bit more one way or another. Priorities can be fluid in their order as life dictates. Any teacher during report card time has school work at the top of their list over all others. A writer under deadline closes out the rest of the world until they get it done. A sick child, broken pipes etc. change your priorities in an instant. So we need the framework of a what our priorities should be but we need to be flexible to adjust and reset as needed. So plan in hand and the knowledge that life might have other plans, I will move forward with my next book. I will balance as best I can and when the scale tips, know I can bring it back to center with a little flexibility.