You need it to ride a bike. It’s required for things like yoga, martial arts, arcobatics and parkour. Heck, without adequate balance you’ll struggle to walk in a straight line. It’s important.
This morning Chuck suggested folks interested in freelance writing punch themselves in the face instead. To an extent, I agree. Chasing down work constantly, uncertain of the time money will be coming your way, unable to leave your flat for fear of getting struck by a car or some masonry or the Ebola virus when you don’t have health insurance – I can sympathize with those fears. Freelance work of any kind carries that palpable constant dread, that doing something you love can combat effectively if you keep your nose down on that grindstone.
On the other hand, participating in a day job that isn’t in that field of interest carries a different burden. I’m quick to bemoan the nature of the work, the shenanigans inherent with any office environment, the hours and necessity of commuting – you name it, I can bitch about it. But the paycheck is nice, the work is not all that unreasonable and I’m fairly competent at what I do. I think.
The key, for me, was striking a balance between doing what pays and doing what I love. One day the twain might meet, but for now, I do what I must to pay the bills and fill in what spare time I can with writing, or edits, or spinning new ideas. It’s not a perfect system, not by a long shot. But the aspirations to get a finished work on shelves gives me something to reach for when the job is disappointing, and the job keeps the lights on and computers running at home, as well as keeping the cats and my very patient wife fed.
You need to strike a balance in your writing, too.
Most lives are not defined by one emotion. Moments of levity have their place in drama, and comedy can be used as a conduit to guide an audience to a serious matter. When the balance is out of whack, you can come across a drama too camp to take seriously or the Very Special Episode of a sitcom. I don’t necessarily like beating the same drums over and over, but Inception uses some clever writing to slip humor into an otherwise highly cerebral thriller while Scott Pilgrim similarly slips insightful and poignant observations on maturity and relationships into the boss battles and indie rock.
Give me more examples of balance. Show me your signposts. Let’s see if we’re heading in the same direction.