I learned how to juggle in college. My friend, Nisha taught me how to juggle golf balls one rainy afternoon in her dorm room.  Nisha is the most coordinated person I know.  I’m not exaggerating – the first time she was on ice skates, she made one wobbly circuit and then was skating better than me (who had been skating since childhood).  A few things I learned that day: 1. Juggling requires a lot of practice and good hand/eye coordination and 2. Golf balls make a great deal of noise when they hit the floor (eventually the poor student below us sent her RA up with a cease and desist order).

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about juggling (I now juggle koosh balls – softer on the hands and quieter).  Many readers and friends have asked me how I manage to juggle my full-time writing, book promoting, family, house etc…  And after  considering their question, I realized the way I managed was by dropping most of my balls.

For example – I used to volunteer at my local library – was in charge of the programming committee and secretary of the board of directors.  When I sold my books – Splat!  Dropped one ball – couldn’t volunteer anymore. 

Social life – Splat!  I used to try and get together with friends for lunch or shopping – now I shop online and eat at my desk.

Movies – Splat!  I love movies.  I used to see a ton in the theater – now I’m down to the occasional DVD after the kids go to bed.

Scrapbooking – Splat!  Same with keeping the photo album updated.

Reading more than 30 mins a day – Splat!  I remember days where I had lain on the couch and read for an entire day.

Playing the cello – Splat!  A thick coating of dust has turned my brown case gray.

Keeping the house really neat and clean – Splat!  This one I don’t miss too much :)   As long as the kitchen is toy-and-germ free, we have clean clothes, and my office is somewhat organized (piles are an organizational tool as long as you know what’s in them).

The writing deadlines, promoting my books, and keeping the family healthy and happy are the balls I’m juggling now.  I would love to juggle them all, but it’s impossible.  I’m not complaining either – I’ve chosen which balls to keep in the air and which ones to drop – and I know there will be a day where I can pick them all up again. (Although I may have to make new friends).

Anyone else have something you let drop and hope to pick up again?

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  1. 1. Diana Pharaoh Francis

    Oh. Wow. Is that what those noises have been all this time? The splatting of dropped . . . eggs? There’s so much that has splatted in my life. And now reading has become, ulp, a guilty pleasure. We’ll, not all the time, but whenever I should be writing (approaching deadline).

  2. 2. Karen Wester Newton

    Whenever anyone asks me the “How do you have time to write with kids, jobs, etc.” question, I say, “If you could see my house, you’d know.”

  3. 3. S.C. Butler

    Wish I could juggle. Even if it was only koosh balls.

  4. 4. Melinda

    I’ve had to drop my drawing. To be honest I wasn’t that good, but I always had a feeling that with some more experience and time I could learn to draw well.

    I’ll never drop my reading. It may go sometimes in waves (as in: one month I’ll read nothing, the next month I’ll read 4 books in one weekend), but that’s something I’ll never drop.

  5. 5. Kate Elliott

    I can’t remember any more. *g*

    But, yeah, my house is kind of organized and marginally clean in the important places. If I reach the venerable age of, say, 95, I don’t think I’ll be looking back on my life wishing I had wet mopped my floors more often.

    As for the other, I’m actually at that point where, having basically no day to day child-rearing responsibilities I’ve been able to start adding koosh balls. Not that I can juggle. (however, the house isn’t really getting any cleaner).

  6. 6. Kelly McCullough

    House it mostly very clean, but no kids, no tv, no role-playing games, constricted social life, etc. There are a lot of trade offs if you want to be an author. The only real question is which ones you make. Oh, and I used to juggle too, but that was another of those splat things when I left theater.

  7. 7. Maria V. Snyder

    Thanks for sharing your stories. I agree about the whole house, thing – I’m not going to regret the tumbleweeds of dog hair or the sun room a.k.a play room/disaster area – but I will regret missing the soccer game where my son scored a goal or my daughter’s violin recital – so I keep those ball airborne :)

    Real juggling is fun and impresses most kids and all adults – I’ll teach a beginner/refresher course at the next World Fantasy Con – all will be welcome – bring koosh balls and your sense of humor – you’ll need it :)

Author Information

Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder has been writing fiction and nonfiction since 1995. She has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers. Her first published novel, Poison Study appeared on the shelves in 2005, and chronicles Yelena’s challenges in surviving her dangerous job as a food taster. Magic Study follows with Yelena’s efforts to learn about her magic while searching for a rogue magician turned serial killer. Fire Study chronicles Yelena's adventures with a Fire Warper and was released in March 2008. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology at Penn State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and Maria earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. As part of her research for her Study novels, Maria signed up for a glass blowing class to learn how to shape molten glass. The first thing she learned is it is considerably harder to sculpt glass than it looks. Maria now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls. When she’s not traveling, Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, daughter and yellow Lab. She is working on her next MIRA novel, Storm Glass, due out Spring 2009. Readers are welcome to contact Maria by e-mail at maria@mariavsnyder.com, or they can find more information on her Web site at www.mariavsnyder.com. Visit site.



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