A Balancing Act

As if I didn’t have enough distractions to keep me from my writing – family, friends, occasional Burn Notice or Criminal Minds marathons, cooking dinner, and other various household stuffs – I’ve decided to add drawing to my list of things to do. I know adding diversity to our creative outlets might seem like a distraction, just another something to take us away from that thing we love most, but for me, it used to bring balance.

I haven’t done as much drawing since high school as I’ve wanted to. In the past few years, it’s picked up a little – in the form of cartoonish sketches for the kids to color in. Bored and procrastinating a few days ago, I sifted through some drawings I did in high school, when life in general was balanced. (I may have been a little bit of an introvert, perfectly content to be on my own – most of the time.) I stared at one image in particular. Unfinished and eyeless, the teen-aged boy I drew in my Senior year art class stared back at me. I wanted to go back to those final days of high school and reacquaint myself with drawing. And finish that particular image.

You see, for a long time, I’ve felt… off-center; not quite balanced. In fact, I’ve felt so far off balance I’m not sure I’m even in the same orbit anymore. I chalked it up to a lot of major life-changes over the past five years – having kids and losing grandparents will do that to a person. But the most recent “event” was more than two years ago now. So what happened to my balance? Was it all just too much at once for me to deal with on a mental level? Or is there still something else missing?

It turns out, there is still something missing. Drawing. I’ve always been a doodler, a drawer, and a painter. It was fantastic for getting my mind off anything that was bothering me, or expressing my happy thoughts. The effect was just as powerful, cathartic, as writing is for me.

Writing is what I want to do. I want to write novels. I have several that are in various stages of disarray. But I’ve been stuck on my words for a while, on something that should already be done, and published to top it off.

In high school, when I wasn’t hitting the slopes with the rest of the ski team, or hanging out with friends or doing homework, I had my nose buried in the blank pages of a sketch book, drawing and/or writing, often on the same page. Each fed off the other. When words failed me, I turned to the visual of drawing, and my mind would go blissfully blank. That was my place of Zen. Everything else disappeared for a while. When the words started creeping out of the woodwork again, I let them flow.

Will drawing bring back the balance I’ve been missing? Is that what I’ve been missing? I don’t know. But I’m about to find out. Since the frantic search through my art supplies didn’t provide me with my preferred medium of vine charcoal, I’m off to the craft store in just a bit to stock up on everything I need. Balance included.

Where do you find your balance?


Milli Gilbert is a stay-at-home mom who loves to write. Maybe someday she’ll even be published too!


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