Before I reach any kind of conclusion, I have to set up some background, so please bear with me. To start, I’ve been studying (when I can manage it) First Things First by Stephen Covey and the Merrills. The premise of the books is that if you put first things first, you will obtain a higher quality of life. Part of the process required to fulfill this premise is, of course, figuring out what really comes first in your life, rather what should really come first. The answers are different for everyone.
I’m not going to rehearse all of it, since there were no real surprises for me—I am introspective by nature—and because I’ve shared most of it at one time or another on this blog. I’ll summarize by saying God, family, work, and friends, with work entailing the writer, the advocate, and the marketer. But therein lies the sticky part.
On the one hand, I enjoy marketing when I’m marketing something (or someone) I believe in. I have collected quite a few clients who fit in that category and I could support my family’s needs by pursuing those clients and their recommendations. (At least, that will be true once I’m up to getting back to work.) Supporting my family is a big part of my role in life. We have invested considerable time, energy, and money into making me a versatile writer who can provide the material things in life by serving others’ by marketing their capabilities.
If you’ll look closely, you just might get a peek at my “other hand.” For, on the other hand, I am a versatile writer who can write a wide variety of works quite capably. I can write poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, informative nonfiction, and persuasive nonfiction. I have written and published all of these types of work and I am frequently encouraged to write more of all of these kinds of work. I am even full of ideas regarding materials I can write about marketing that would empower those who cannot afford my services to do self-marketing more effectively.
Therein lies the problem. There are two hands—one that provides the income my family needs and one that provides the satisfaction and variety I crave—and I want both, but in practice they seem mutually exclusive.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t enjoy marketing. I do. It’s that marketing, by itself, doesn’t really satisfy the writer in me. It certainly doesn’t satisfy the advocate in me. But the more successful I am in my marketing work, the less time I have available for my other work; which is ironic, since the marketing work is what provides the funds I need to market my other work. I feel stuck.
The grand idea when I started on this course was to balance the writer, the advocate, and the marketer. Ideally, this would work, if I wasn’t also trying to balance my roles as wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. Honestly, I don’t usually get much past wife and mother, because my family is unusual and needs quite a bit of my time and energy.
In First Things First, it talks about balance. In the chapter about balance, it talks about the balance of temporary imbalance. The examples used are bringing home an infant and starting up a business. Part of me wants to justify the extra time I was devoting to my marketing career. Part of me wants to chuck it all and go back to being an artist. Part of me insists that I can and should do both. Part of me just wants to go back to bed and dream the world away.
So, what about now? What am I going to do? How am I going to use these last two “lost” months? Where will I go from here?