Monday, January 16, 2012

The Great Balancing Act

In December I went walking in the park with my grandchildren. A woman with two therapy dogs drew our attention. A very sweet lady, she asked if we'd met before and then we spent a few moments trying to determine whether our paths had ever crossed. When she asked me what I did, I claimed novelist, my grandchildren filled in my role as business coach and the camera around my neck claimed photographer. "My your life is so well balanced," she said.

For those of you who have visited my personal blog, you may know that, in November I decided that 2012 would be the year for me to learn balance. I'm hosting other authors who are telling their tricks. How ironic to meet someone who would view me as balanced. 
As writers most of us have real jobs, those that keep us in computers, pens and paper. We cannot stop writing even though our lives are full, because the writing process is what gives us fulfillment. So instead we carve out bits and pieces of time between family and work, sometimes feeling stretched or pulled in so many directions. We can't wait for retirement to write, the stories refuse to allow it. Instead they nag us while making the bed, taking a shower, or doing the dishes. "Write me! Write me!" they call to us.
In my younger years, living in Wyoming, I played a bit with rock climbing. It was almost at the same time that a new trend was started called slacklining. Two guys in Yosemite Valley strung webbing and walked, not on tight rope, but rather on "rope" that had less tension, sometimes between two places high above the ground. Slacklining is interesting because of the ease with which the practice can change by using narrower or thicker webbing or by just changing the tension. While the slackline is less rigid and has a bit of sway, it does not allow for an alternative path. 
Perhaps this is how to achieve balance as a writer with also being a child, parent, grandparent, employee and friend. A path that has sway, that allows for changes in the dynamics, but still keeps you focused to the end. May each of you navigate the high peaks of life with balance and see your writing soar.
D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction. She loves to tell stories of personal growth where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is the author of Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception, her latest book dealing with the subject of death and the afterlife. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at

Her novels are available in electronic format here, or print format here
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Mayra Calvani said...

Thanks for the serene and inspirational post. By the way, I love the last part of your bio: "In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha!" I can definitely relate to that, though now I'm much more balanced than I used to be, ever since I started practicing meditation last October. It has had a profound effect on the way I approach writing, too.

Mayra Calvani

D. Jean Quarles said...

Oh, I agree Mayra. Meditating has sure grounded me in a very unexpected way, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Karen Cioffi said...

Great post Jean. I've been meaning to start mediation (my acupuncturist says I need it :)), but keep procrastinating.

I just have to do it!

Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

NancyCL said...

Great article. Thanks much for sharing!

Fani Nicheva said...

...."it does not allow for an alternative path"
yes. indeed.
Dear Jean, as i am reading your post with my two-year old on my lap, who is smearing hand lotion all over his head and is putting paper clips in his mouth, I am trying to gracefully walk on that tight rope.

Thank you for reminding me that we write not because we want to, but because we have to.

Great post and looking forward to many more.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

What a lovely reminder, Jean. It is so easy to become obcessive when we love something. And there are so many things to love! (-:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about the second edition (expanded! updated!) of the multi award-winning Frugal Book Promoter (

Magdalena Ball said...

Very well put Jean. I think it's important to remind ourselves how 'well rounded' we are sometimes when the juggling gets overwhelming and we aren't doing enough writing or achieving the kind of balance we want. I know that sometimes I hold my own rope too tightly and don't give myself the same kind of leeway I'd give anyone else.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

If you don't have a meditative practice, starting can seem overwhelming. I know it was for me. I started by just taking six deep inhalations and exhalations. Envision the inhalation going down through my body to the center of the earth and the exhalation up into the universe. For years,each day that's all I did to meditate. It only takes a few minutes but is a great practice.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great inspirational post. I love the concept of slacklining.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Me too Mary Jo.
A lovely post to read at the end of the day. And it's always so pleasing when other people see us as we would like to see ourselves but never do. Thanks for sharing, Jean. Thoughts to remember.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

This is wonderful Jean! Love it! :):):)

D. Jean Quarles said...

Thanks everyone!

klahanie said...

Greetings Jean,
A wonderful and yes, a well balanced article. I like to think that part of the key to the balance is staying in tune with the 'inner child' and I believe that and other aspects of our road along life, potholes and all, can truly inspire our writing.
With respect and kind wishes, Gary :)

D. Jean Quarles said...

So very true!

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