Saturday, 9 February 2013

Keeping my balls in the air

I know how to juggle.

I taught myself how to do it, just after I finished school. I was a bit bored one day and on a whim I thought, "Why don't I teach myself how to juggle?"

So I did. I grabbed a bunch of golf balls (to this day, I reckon golf balls are the best thing to use to learn how to juggle - they're easy to catch and don't go bouncing away) and began. I didn't have an instruction book. I just figured it out. 

I'm not that coordinated (when I used to play cricket, I was notorious for the number of catches I dropped) but by the end of the day I had gotten to the point where I could do maybe ten catches in a row. And in a couple of days, I could keep going up to 100 and over.

I even began to do tricks, like under the leg. Though I never did manage the "take a bite from an apple" trick (I always seemed to smash it against my forehead) and I could never manage more than four balls. Still, it's one of those things I'm kind of pleased about. I know how to juggle.

I've been thinking about the whole juggling thing a bit lately because these days I seem to be spending a lot of time juggling. Maybe not in a literal sense, but most of my life seems to be a struggle to keep a lot more than three balls in the air.

My work in itself is a juggle. Multiple projects is the name of the game. Gotta keep them all moving forward - multiple deadlines are getting near and that's a lot of juggling. Then there's the juggle of balancing work with personal life, and all the decisions that involves.

But the biggest juggle of all is the attempt to keep some sort of a semblance as a writer with everything else going on. There's the three current works-in-progress which I've blabbed on a bit about previously - I suppose each of those is a ball. Then there's all the social media stuff - my Twitter ball and my Facebook ball and the rather large ball that is this blog. Honestly, I have no idea how I do it.

Even as I write this, I'm still madly juggling. Here go those balls - up and down and up and down. I really hope I don't drop them. Can you imagine what a mess that would make. 


  1. I can’t juggle. I can’t spin plates either but that’s the analogy I would go with. It’s been years since I’ve seen anyone do that. Hard to imagine doing that as a job of work but that’s what some people used to do, day in and day out, running around a stage in front of a paying audience trying to keep as many plates spinning as they could. The world record is 108 plates. I prefer thinking about plates to keeping balls in the air or ducks in a row because there’s something frantic about plate spinning. The plates don’t all spin at the same speed and so you have to keep an eye of every one of them and be able to rush to the aid of any of them that’s about to fall. I used to be very good a multitasking. Since my… you know I never know what to call it since ‘nervous breakdown’ fell into disuse… anyway, since my thing I find I need to focus more and more on the task in hand. I don’t necessarily have to finish it but I can’t bounce from one thing to the next the way I used to. About the only exception to that is e-mail. When the bell tings I’ll generally have a wee look to see what it is but other than that I stay focused until it’s time to move onto the next task. It’s a flexible routine but it’s still a routine. As far as writing projects go I pretty much stick with the one until it’s done. The poems come when they want to and everything stops for them but I don’t write so many these days and so when I do write one I get a buzz and it’s worth stopping for that because it raises my spirits. Odd, isn’t it? I write tens of thousands of words every months but the fifty or sixty in a tiny poem are what keep me believing in myself as a writer.

    1. Hi Jim,

      Dunno about those plates - think I'll stick to the balls.

      It would be nice to be able to focus on one thing at a time but not with everything I've got going on. Plus, it takes me a long time to finsish something, with lots of gaps in between, so I need to keep moving other things forward.