Life Coach Magazine

Author Susan Sleeman on Balancing Life

By Writerinterrupted @writerinterrupt

Author Susan Sleeman on Balancing Life
How do you balance being a mom, wife, and writer?

My youngest daughter has gone to college now, so I am an empty nester, but I can still remember the struggle of balancing everything. The best way I was able to do that and still am able to balance life is to create a to do list and schedule out the tasks. To create that list we sat down every Sunday afternoon and reviewed as a family what we all had coming up that next week so we could plan ahead. Of course, things always came up and then I’d just have to work them in the schedule.

Do you think it’s possible to give yourself fully to raising children, writing, and keeping in shape? If not, which one for you has to take a back seat?

One of the values of having a chronic illness, is that you learn pretty early on that you have to prioritize everything you do or think about doing. There has to be great value in an activity or it doesn’t get done. Suddenly, some of the things that you thought you absolutely had to do, fall away and time is freed up. So, honestly, I think if something is important enough, then you can make time for it. What is up to each of us is how important we thing that thing is.

When do you find the time to write, and do you ever feel like you’re neglecting your children when you write?

I’m struggling with the term neglecting as this to me sounds like my child is suffering. I don’t think a child who is loved and nurtured suffers when a parent has interests outside of that child. That said, when my daughter was home I tried to write when she was in school. But writing is my job and there are times in life when your job has to take priority so you can put food on the table and a roof over the head of said child. I cannot control every deadline set by my publisher, so I have to make sure that I don’t waste time but get right to the tasks so if my daughter needs me during this window, I will still have enough time left to meet my deadline.

How do you handle interruptions in your writing life?

I try to minimize them by setting certain times of the day that are set aside for writing and do everything within my power to protect these times. If they have to take over this time, then I try to look for replacement writing time in the week.

How do you get back into the flow of writing after you’ve been interrupted?

I read what I’ve previously written and that brings me back to it pretty fast. And nothing like a looming deadline to make you want to write. LOL

What do you do to encourage yourself during those stormy days every writer has?

I’ve mentioned that I have a chronic illness and as you can imagine, I have many stormy health days. So I am used to having days where I plan to write, but I’m unable to. On those bad health days I pull out a Bible called the Encouragement Bible with devotions by Jonie Eareckson Tada and Dave and Jan Dravecky. There are devotions on every page and they help me move out of my discouragement to a positive place and help me realize that God has a plan for me. It may not be my plan, but there is a plan.

How do you position yourself to HEAR God’s voice when all the noises of life are swirling around you?

I start the day in prayer and make sure I listen to my favorite preachers during the week. This always grounds me and brings me back to earth.

If you do feel your priorities slipping, what do you do to get back on track?

I stop and reevaluate. I look at everything I need to do and decide what absolutely needs to get done and how I can get it done.

Has there ever been a time God told you to set aside your writing to focus on other areas of your life? If so, how did you handle that?

I have never felt like God wanted me to do that. Every time I got discouraged along the way He gave me encouragement and kept me going.

Did you ever feel like you’ve “missed” God in regards to writing, that maybe you should be doing something else?

Sure, I think we all question our calling in life. But as I mentioned above, every time I feel (yes, I still think that way at times) that way, God provides me with encouragement. These days what encourages me most, is hearing from readers who tell me how my book has touched them, because for me, that’s what it’s all about.

What advice would you give to writing moms who are have their hearts set on publication?

Same advice I’d give to any writer. If you really want to write, don’t give up. Find the time, any amount of time, and write. Even a few hundred words a week will eventually add up to a full novel.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I think we as writer’s often get interrupted when we compare ourselves to other writers. We aren’t as good at them. As prolific as them. As dedicated at them. But in reality, God knows exactly where we are. He knows our struggles. He knows our sacrifices and if He’s gifted you to write, He will give you time to do it. So stop looking at others who craft several books a year or even one book a year. Maybe you’re meant to do one every other year. Or only one ever. Relax. Go with God’s guiding, don’t beat yourself up over it and write.

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