The other day, on learning that I write and have a couple of published books to my name, a new acquaintance asked me, "How do you fit it all in?"
Here's the thing: I don't. I really don't.
My flat hasn't seen more than a cursory clean in months; the only reason it's survived such neglect is because I'm not there for more than a few hours at a time to create any serious detritus. My kitchen sink is permanently full of dishes. My friends are always prodding me with a gentle reminder that it's been more than a couple of days since I last saw them, it's been weeks. (Thank all that's sacred that I have patient, understanding, forgiving friends.) On a good day I'm running on an hour less sleep than I need. I barely cook, because it takes too long for too little gain, and my grocery expeditions consist of little more than ensuring I have sufficient milk and bread to keep from starving.
Pretty glamorous, eh?
When I indulge in social activities, sleep and wordcount drop by the wayside. When the dayjob floods me with applications, sleep and wordcount drop by the wayside. When I take the time to get the sleep I need to function like a normal human being, friends and wordcount drop by the wayside. When I take the time to truly write, friends and work drop by the wayside.
Most of the time, if I'm ultra-organised, and skimp a bit each on my friends and my sleep (and a lot on my housework), I can balance everything. Sorta. Kinda.
Sometimes, life throws me a hefty curve-ball. And when my routine gets ripped out from under me — which has been pretty much a constant feature of 2010 — it takes a lot to regain my balance.