Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
Today, Heidi Chiavaroli shares her struggle to balance writing and real life while preparing for the release of her first book. I so relate, Heidi!
Thanks so much for inviting me to share, Sandy!
I have to admit, I feel a little guilty writing a post on any type of balancing because it’s definitely not my strong point. I’m kind of an all-or-nothing kind of girl, actually, so when my debut novel released this past August with my dream publishing house, I knew I was going to do EVERYTHING I could to market this book.
As soon as my deadline for Book #2 was turned in this past spring, I busied myself by visiting countless bookstores and libraries, preparing blogs and articles, sending out mailers, creating a Pinterest page, and planning a launch party amidst my part-time night job, not to mention family responsibilities. I’d never promoted a book before and I wanted to make sure my publisher didn’t regret giving me that contract!
I think I did pretty well navigating this side of writing. My Type A personality wouldn’t accept anything less. And when my book actually did release, I was well-prepared. For the book, anyway. Not so much for the craziness.
Now, writing this post a little more than a month after release date, I feel like while this summer was special and amazing in many ways, I almost missed it, too. My kids were home, but we didn’t go to the beach much. (We did, however, make plenty of time for ice cream outings!) I didn’t get out and play around in the yard. My house became a chaotic mess, and my heart not too far behind it.
I sat down the other day to eat my lunch (in front of the computer) and I’m ashamed to admit I looked down to see my sandwich gone. Vanished. I barely remembered eating it. I’d been up at night, my brain going a mile a minute. I kept telling myself I need to slow down, that I would get used to this crazy writing life, but the truth is, I’m not sure I will.
You see, there’s always something more that could be done. And I’m a doer and a finisher. But then where does that leave my spiritual and physical health? Where does that leave my family?
I’m learning better how to slow down these days, but honestly, I’m not sure if that’s because there’s less to be done, or because I’ve actually learned something! I’ve already promised myself I won’t let next release time get so very crazy. I need to create a schedule and stick by it. Make time for God and family and relaxation. (Maybe even watch a movie with my hubby—something that was practically unthinkable for me this summer!)
I’m learning that life is not my writing. And writing, no matter how much I love it, is not my life. It is my career, and an important part of who I am, but it also needs to stay in its place. I need to savor life. Live it, so I can write it well.
So I guess I don’t have any great tips on this balancing act yet. But I’m trusting God to teach me through my mistakes as I go. Maybe I could come back in a couple years from now and share what He’s shown me?
“I’m learning that life is not my writing.” Yes, that’s exactly what prompted these monthly posts this year. Have you ever had to balance a demanding job with your personal life? What did you learn?
Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail. She writes Women’s Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. Her debut novel, “Freedom’s Ring” is a Romantic Times Top Pick and a BOOKLIST Top Ten Romance Debut, 2017. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com.