I think I may have the answer to the question of balance (i.e., how does one balance a writing career with the demands of a second career, family, etc.). Some may see this as a far-fetched answer, or the inconvenient answer, but allow me to think out loud.
I wonder if the issue isn't one of balance as much as it is choice. In other words, we're choosing to juggle these things in the air, but have never given any one enough attention for any sustained amount of time; or, we're so busy listening to our self-programmed thoughts (which are probably based on faulty premises and the criticisms of others) that we've never made a clear decision backed up with a plan.
I mean, think about it. How many of us want to be full-time writers but, rather than make the decision: I am going to be a full-time writer, one that can sustain a prosperous living from it, and follow that up with a plan of how to make that happen, instead, we say: I want to be a full-time writer, but I can't make a living from it. And it's too hard to get published. And I'm probably not talented enough. And I couldn't afford to live on my own if I was. And what would my friends and family say if I gave up my nice, stable job in order to do so? What about my health insurance?
And so on.
Not to say that some of these aren't legitimate concerns. But we're approaching them in terms of problems rather than solutions. We're putting our attention on the I can't rather than the I can. We're disminishing the issue as impossible rather than make a plan of action that is entirely possible.
If we want to be a writer and a ... (fill in the blank as many times as you need), have we ever made that decision in a way that really defines precisely what we want? Set an intention? In other words: I intend to be a published fiction author in addition to my full-time teaching position. I will balance this by devoting no more than 40 hours per week to my teaching, and write for two hours every night. Those two hours per night may also be devoted to querying agents, submitting to journals, etc. Or, we could plan to work 20 hours in one job and 20 hours in writing.
The point is, we get to decide!
Get the point?
I think often times we're too afraid to make the choice we really want because of our fears of being ridiculed, of failure, of insecurity, etc. We've not found balance because we've not become present to what we really want. We're going about our cluttered lives unconsciously. We let the voices (disguised as reason) talk us out of it, tell us our intentions are silly, not feesible, impossible, far-fetched, etc. when really we're just out of alignment with said intentions.
I'm not saying I've got this mastered. But I think it's time I get clear about what I really want and follow up with a plan of action (that means turning off the tv, too). I think all things are possible when we align ourselves with our intentions.
What do you think?