There's a recurring dream I have about owning another house--a house I've neglected, a house I've forgotten about. A house that might be sliding into disrepair, a house that needs tending. A house of many rooms.
I go to the "other" house and I walk around in it, exploring--oh look, there's a whole new wing I'd completely forgotten about! Maybe I will sleep here now. The rooms are big! The dreams are somewhat exciting, but also slightly disturbing. Im wealthier than I thought--two houses! But what a responsibility. I should have been taking care of my extra house, weeding the garden, keeping up with it. Maybe I owe taxes on it, maybe it needs a new roof.
Being a writer is like living in two houses at once, two lives at once. If you're living in the writing life, chances are good that you're neglecting something in your other, "real" life. If you're managing to work (a little), earn some money, go shopping, get some exercise, see a few friends, buy birthday presents for your family, keep up with the bills, your other house languishes.
You need both houses. Both require care. You can't afford to completely forget about either of them, and yet you can't spend your time neurotically running back and forth between them, either--that won't work. You have to move as gracefully and deliberately as possible between your two living situations as you can.
But of course it's never really all that graceful. Like a child whose parents are divorced, or a person with a lover in another city, you always forget a toothbrush or a sock or a pair of glasses. You always leave a little piece of yourself behind. And if you neglect either of them for too long, your dreams come back to haunt you.