Channeling Jekyll and Hyde

My dad was a social butterfly. He liked to get out, visit with people, and have a good time.

My mom is more the hermit type. Content with her own company, she’d happily stay in her house and yard for weeks on end.


I inherited both those qualities from my parents in equal amounts, so I’m half social butterfly, half hermit. Jekyll and Hyde, with the two entities battling for domination. On the one hand, I could bury my head in my work and never come out. But when I look up and remember there’s another world out there, I want to stay and play for hours and forget about all things work related.The Valentine Grinch by Sheila Seabrook

In December, I hid in my office and ignored everything and everyone while I finished the final rewrites and edits on the expanded edition of The Valentine Grinch. It was the most work I had accomplished in months. The time away from all things social helped me realize how very little I get done when I slip into butterfly mode.

Being in hermit mode during the month of December helped me realize two things:

1. To accomplish anything, I need be in hermit mode every day from 8:00 till 12:00 noon – longer if the work-in-progress is going well.

2. But sometimes the hermit needs to get out and play.

© Phil Date |

© Phil Date |

I’ve always been like this. All the years I worked outside of the home, I was either surrounded by people, helping where I was needed, offering to take the load off their shoulders…anything to be in the middle of other people and their madness. Or I’d hide in my office and work, never stopping for a coffee or lunch break to socialize with others.

There was rarely a middle ground because I was born an all or nothing type of girl.

As I start this New Year and search for ways to improve and reach my objectives, I ask myself, where is the balance? I know it’s within reach and so I’m making more of an effort to stay offline until the work is done, and only afterward can I play nicely with others. J

How about you? Have you found balance in your life between your goals and your fun time? How do you manage? Any tips to share or are you still seeking a solutions, too?


About Sheila Seabrook

Author of contemporary romance and women's fiction.

Posted on January 9, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Nice article, Sheila. I’m right there with you, throw marketing and promotion into the mix and we’re spread even thinner. If only that translated to my hips and thighs:-)

  2. Nice post, Sheila, and one which makes me stop and think a bit about my work life versus my social life. I have a routine and try to get most things done in the a.m. then have lunch and do a little bit more in the p.m. Then I make sure to ride my bike and ride my horse and pick up my daughter and talk with her and spend time with her. It’s all about balance. I’m more of the hermit type and require hours of alone time.

    • Wow, Patti, it sounds to me like you have a really nice balance to your life. You’re fitting exercise in there, and of course joy (that would be riding your horse) and family time. I should probably come spend a few weeks with you to take lessons on balancing. Could I please stay until it’s spring in Canada? 🙂

  3. Balance is the key word for my 2013. I spent all of October and November locked in my office trying to get a manuscript finished. In December, I was editing and marketing for my May release. This month, more editing and marketing and outlining. Finding the balance between writing and life is difficult because this isn’t a 9-5 job. It’s all about getting your butt in the chair, wherever and whenever you can.

    These next few months are looking pretty crazy for me with one more book to write while promoting the first and editing the second. But, I will find the balance because this is supposed to be FUN. I just have to make myself sit in the chair every day from noon until dinner. Mornings are for exercise and editing and all the other tasks my family depends on me for. (Hopefully, they’re getting used to cleaning up after themselves because I’m not doing it!)

    Sheila, I’m looking forward to playing with you when we both get our work done!!

    • You’re so right when you say this isn’t a 9 to 5 job, Tracy. These days, I think a writer has to be a little bit of a workaholic. A spring play-date would be awesome. 🙂

  4. Ah, balance…that elusive concept! I’ve found that breaking my day or week into chunks helps. I use the mornings for exercise, breakfast with hubs and chores, the afternoon (11-3:30) is for writing, 3:30-5:30 is for social media some days and other days it’s for blogging. This is a 6-day/week commitment. Saturdays and evenings are devoted to time with hubs and family, doing fun stuff and reading. It took me a long time to find the ‘right’ schedule that fit it all the important stuff. You’ll find your balance, Sheila, if for no other reason than your personality is balanced – butterfly/hermit. I’m more butterfly and have to reign it in on a regular basis, pretending to be a hermit a few hours a day.:)

    • It’s a challenge for everyone, isn’t it, Marcia? When I worked full time at my accounting job, I definitely had more control over my time. As well, there were deadlines to maintain on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, and the deadlines kept me on track. Now, there are days when it’s a free-for-all. I probably need more deadlines in my life. 🙂

  5. Sheila, I blame it on being born on the “cusp” of Virgo and Libra … Virgo the introvert hermit and Libra the extrovery butterfly. I love both of them but sometimes one dominates all my time and I get crazy missing my other half.

    It’s the ying/yang thing and balancing it helps balance all our energies and get things done for others and for us 🙂

  6. I’d have to say I’m a little bit like you in that when I’m in a social setting, I’m all about socializing, but when I’m in work mode, leave me the hell alone. If something needs to get done, I knuckle down and get it done, but then . . . let the party begin.

    Sometimes it’s hard to go back into work mode from the playing mode, but I always remember the rewards that come from hard work so I eventually go back behind closed doors and plant my butt in the chair.

    Good to know there are others like me out there.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  7. i’m realizing, finally, that I need to write when i get home from work. i want to ‘relax’ which is fine, but now it’s 10:30 and I’ve done nothing on my ms. so start there first, Louise. thanks for the focus, Sheila.

  8. Sorry to chime in late one this, Sheila. Congrats on the new book! I’m the same as you–too long in my head and I feel restless and need to get out and feel a part of “real” life.

    I exercise every day because I have ADD and it helps me stay focused. I’m thinking about getting a treadmill and walking while I work so I can combine the two without the ache to my backside. I’ll let you know how it works.

    I think everyone is searching for a balance in life. Letting go of what’s not important and focusing on what makes us happy like my friends and family is a goal for me this year. I hope we all reach our goals!

  9. I could easily slip into full on hermit mode. My husband and daughter answer to the call of the social butterfly and are horrified that I regularly spend the bulk of my day indoors. 🙂 However I do have a system–writing in my office, lunch and exercise (while watching tv) and then back to writing. I could use a little more balance with the socializing though!

  10. I’m definitely more the hermit kind–at least, when we’re talking real-life, face-to-face socialization. Give me a dark, quiet corner in a busy room, where I can observe more than participate, and I’m very much content.

    But then you bring social media via the web into the picture, and I find it so much easier to shine my light. I can get off balance, putting more into that than what creative work I should focus on.

    It’s a balance so many seek to find, I think. I admire your 8-12 discipline!

  11. Balance is TOUGH–especially when you have stories and characters running through your mind, hollering to get OUT! Over the holidays while the kids were home, I stayed off the computer as much as I could, keeping my writing to a minimum. Out and about was our motto!

    It was fun and they’re only young once. 🙂 Perhaps balance is about priorities?

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