There’s a saying in medicine: “You want care that is Good, Fast, and Cheap? Just know that you can’t have all three – you have to pick two.” Yes, there might be some public health folks who disagree, but just go with me on this one, because in broad brushstrokes, it’s true.
You know what else is true? I can’t have Medicine, Manuscripts, and Mayhem all at the same time. I have to pick two to focus on at any given time. As writers, we’re always picking two out of the three things. Or sometimes we’re choosing two out of four or more aspects of our lives for our focs! We’re making that seesaw balance, back and forth, all the time.
A weekend on call where I had hoped to edit 50 pages of manuscript? That plan got blown to bits with the 3 C-sections (1 crash section, 1 emergent) and ten adult admissions (2 into the ICU on vents, one of whom got transferred later that night). Did I get Medicine? Yes. Did I get Mayhem? Check. Manuscripts? NOPE.
What about when I was on call for a holiday but only had two admissions? You betcha I edited for all I was worth. Medicine + Manuscripts. But no Mayhem (thank goodness).
And what about the time I tried to outline a brand new book and series while on a busy vacation where my burnt-out brain didn’t want to work? Mayhem + Manuscripts. But no Medicine.
As authors and as humans, there is only so much we can handle at any given time, and at the end of the day it’s all about getting that seesaw to level out. Each person has to find that balance point, whether it’s writing + family + illness + work + moving + crazy life. Sometimes, though, it takes all of our effort to get that stupid seesaw back to level. But when we do? It’s magic.