Of course, this is not a new dilemma for me. Establishing an effective and productive writing/life balance is a challenge I have faced my entire life. There have been many periods when I found the necessary time to write, but it usually came with some sort of compromise or sacrifice, most often a barren social life or a lack of sleep. I found some reprieve after I became a teacher. If nothing else, at least I knew I had six-to-eight weeks in the summer to dedicate to the craft. This is how I eventually wrote The City of Earthly Desire. I began working on it in the summer of 2010 and managed to complete the necessary research and an extremely rough draft. I then picked away at it whenever I could during the school year. This usually entailed getting up at four in the morning on weekdays when the world was quiet – well, as quiet as it gets in New York City – and chipping away at the draft for a couple of hours before it was time to leave for my teaching job. I also spent a few hours on the manuscript on the weekend. During this whole time I was preparing myself for the upcoming summer when I knew I would have to finish the novel as best as I could. Well, it ended up taking an extra year, but I did manage to find the time in the end. Then we moved to Canada, my son was born, and for all intents and purposes, I found it impossible to find the time to write since.
Two years have passed since I finished The City of Earthly Desire and in those two years I have essentially written nothing save for these blog posts (and as you can see, even these have been sparse and rather sporadic.) Surprisingly, this has not bothered me too much. In the past four years I have lived in three different countries and this constant moving about coupled with the energy required to raise a child have required significant amounts of time-investment. I do not begrudge this investment. In fact, I have rather enjoyed it and have seen it as a necessity considering my circumstances. Having said that, I find myself thinking about finding time to write again. I am picking away at the locks that bind me. I know I will crack the safe before the air runs out and I will escape, gaze above me, and through the murky stillness I will see a faint ceiling of light toward which I will swim until surface once again. Once there, I will breathe in deep lungfuls of air, and I will begin to tread water once again.
It's only a matter of time . . .