When I was twelve, I went into my backyard and taught myself how to juggle.
It wasn’t something I’d thought about doing — I was bored and needed something to do. The only jugglers I remember seeing:
- Steve Martin
- A clown at a third-rate circus
- A guy at a Renaissance festival
I didn’t have the slightest idea how the juggling patterns worked. I tried and failed, repeated as necessary, and didn’t leave the backyard until figuring out the three ball cascade.
Curiosity and tenacity paid off.
When I started writing, I let curiosity and tenacity also be my guide. I traded hours of juggling for hours of writing. I got better. And then I got busy.
College came along. I worked odd jobs to pay for school. I didn’t see friends as much as I wanted. I met an artist; she became my wife. Schedules collided. Everybody I knew had become jugglers of a different kind. It became hard to find time to do all the things I wanted to do. Everything seemed so fast and out of control.
When I taught myself to juggle five things, everything initially seemed so fast and out of control. Through hard work, it became easier. When it became effortless, I started adding tricks into the pattern. Then I moved on to six and seven things.
I looked at my schedules like I looked at juggling. With each new step as a juggler, things seemed to speed up and fly out of control. But I knew if I relaxed and stuck with it, it would become second nature.
When I applied the lessons learned from juggling to my life, everything slowed down.
As long as I relaxed and focused on the things that mattered, there was time to add more items and variations into life’s patterns. I found there was time for school, work, writing, friendships, my wife, and even juggling.
I’ve taught myself a lot of things in my life, and one of the lessons I learned early on is that it’s easier to get better at something when you surround yourself with others doing the same thing.
I became a good juggler in my backyard, but I became a better juggler when I started juggling with others. I became a good writer through long hours of practice, but I became a better writer when I started talking with other writers and editors.
Most of us are trying to juggle a dream, a job, and a life. Most of us feel like somebody has put too many things in our hands and said, “Juggle!” without any instructions on how to keep things in the air.
I know it’s possible to juggle many things at once–I’ve been a juggler for 28 years.
My goal with The Juggling Writer blog is to prove that we’re all jugglers capable of doing more than we ever dreamed.
Cynthia Griffith says
Good luck! I look forward to seeing how things go with your blog. I like the content and layout so far.
Thank you, Cynthia 🙂