Wednesday 24 June 2015

The Great Juggle

By Nicki Edwards

Have you ever felt like you’re juggling too many balls?

As a full time wife (if you’re married you know it’s a full time job keeping your spouse in line) and mum to four kids, (14, 16, 18 and 20) our life is crazy busy and must be operated with military precision. Don’t laugh, but we have weekly “diary night” where we all sit around the table with our diaries and co-ordinate schedules! Add to the busyness a border collie who demands a daily exercise regime, a neurotic Burmese with stress-related urinary tract issues, a part time job as a school nurse, and a ministry role as a worship leader in the school chapel, life is busy. Then throw some more things into the mix. Such as a job as an intensive care nurse.

Oh, and did I also mention I’m a writer? A published author of one book (Intensive Care), with another one due for release later this year?

Life. Is. Busy.

The other day someone asked what my hobbies are? I almost spat out my Pepsi Max. Hobbies? Who has time for hobbies? I used to run and God knows that’s a ball I’ve dropped. I used to do Crossfit. Another dropped ball. I used to document every single moment of my family’s life in scrapbook albums. I used to watch television. I used to have a social life.

Now? I have a new hobby.


How do I fit it all in? How do I balance my hectic schedule? How do I find time to do everything? How do I find time to write?

These are questions I get asked every single day.

I wish I could say I’ve got life all sorted and that things flow smoothly, but I’d be lying. Here’s the truth: I vacuum my house only when I feel more dog hair beneath my feet than floorboards or carpet. I mop if I visibly see mud. Thank goodness slate floors cover a multitude of sins. I clean the bathrooms when I see mould. Yes. That is truth. I cook the bare necessities. I shop sporadically. I have the local fish and chip shop on speed dial and we have (weekly) half price “parmi nights” at the local pub. Other nights it’s fend for yourself and I see nothing wrong with toast or two minute noodles or chocolate for dinner. I don’t bake (but that’s because I’m the world’s worst cook), I don’t sew, I don’t fold clothes. I don’t do canteen duty. I don’t attend parent teacher interviews. I make it to some sports games. Some music concerts.

Are you getting the picture? Life. Is. Busy.

Tonight though, as I was operating the ventilator that kept my patient alive, as I was writing notes, hanging fluids, taking blood, listening for chest and bowel sounds, documenting vital signs, liaising with doctors, giving drugs, checking wounds and drain tubes, educating students and explaining things to family members, I also had time (don't tell my boss) to make some basic edits on my current manuscript, “Emergency Response” which will be released with Momentum in October.

I write contemporary medical romance (one book published, one due for publication, a third almost ready for pitching at the RWA conference and a fourth half-finished) and some days the best place to write or dream or brainstorm is at work. At work where I’m surrounded by sick patients and stressful situations. That’s where I get my inspiration. That’s where I get my stories. That’s where reality smacks head first into my fictional world. And at that moment I don’t care that I’m busy. Because although I’m busy, I’m fulfilled. I’m doing what I’m called to do. I’m making a difference. As a nurse. As a writer.

And you know what I’ve learned in this busy season? It doesn’t matter if I drop a ball now and then. Sometimes I drop the whole lot! That’s okay. I just bend over scoop them up and throw them back into the air.

Juggling takes practice.

Lucky it’s a hobby I enjoy.

Feel free to follow my blog here
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If you've read my debut medical romance, "Intensive Care" (ebook only at this stage), I'd love to know what you thought of it. Would you be kind enough to drop me a note or leave a review? I'd really appreciate it. And please stay tuned for release dates of "Emergency Response" later this year and look out for "Life Support" too!


  1. Wow! I got worn out just reading your list, lol.

    I like your priorities (especially the housework regime). They're what's keeping you sane, along with a thriving communication with your family. God bless you, Nicki.

  2. Thanks Andrea. I probably come across sounding like I live in a dirt-filled hovel! If you come visit, I promise the house will be clean!

  3. You made me smile, Nicki, but I hear you on the juggling.
    One of my best 'writing' friends is the slow-cooker. Load at 8am and forget. The idea you're 'cooking' while out or at the desk, means at least one of those balls is hovering in perfect balance all day long just above your head. ;)

    1. Dorothy I often think about getting out the slow cooker. But I'm never organized enough to buy the ingredients to put into it! I usually remember at dinner time! And sadly, my kids are not big fans of casseroles.

    2. Dotti, I love my slow cooker, too! Another benefit is the house smells so good while dinner is cooking :)

  4. Love this post, Nicki. I so identify. BTW, it's not called 'dirt' rather refer to it as 'dust-bunnies' ... usually found beneath furniture.

    I so admire you being able to write with four active young adults. I have one. Still, with writing five Christian radio programs per week, plus my weekly blog, plus squeezing in my historical fiction, that's all I can handle.

    Medical stories are fascinating. I need to get yours on my kindle. I just finished one by Harry Kraus ... he's a mission doctor working in Africa. He manages to keep the tension and show his characters' struggle with moral issues.

  5. Hi Nicki,
    Thanks for explaining how you juggle all that, because I couldn't imagine how you do it all. Even now that you've explained how you prioritise, I still think it's amazing. Do you sleep soundly as soon as you hit the sack, or take a little time to unwind?

  6. I couldn't help but think as I read your blog, Nicki, that in five years or so, your whole home/family situation could well have changed. You might have no kids still living at home--and then just think of all the time you'll have for that writing! I reckon those parma nights and the local fish and chip shop are absolutely fine right now though!

  7. Most writers have a busy life with work, a second job, family and other responsibilities. That you've made writing a priority makes a difference for your writing success. Keep pressing on.

  8. Hi everyone - our Queen of Juggling, Nicki, would like you to know she's been work 10-13 hour shifts since this post and will reply to your lovely comments as soon as she gets a chance. Thanks!

  9. Nicki, great post! I totally hear you on the juggling, and this is the first chance I've had since Tuesday to read any of the posts on my group blogs.

    One of my goals for 2015 is to do less juggling and more living. I have work-a-holic tendancies, so the concept of slowing down is a bit foreign.


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