Writerly Things 1/20/2020: Finding Balance
I know it seems like everyone is telling you to write, write, write all the time, every day. That’s not what balance is about. Balance is about finding a way to make the things you do and the people you care about mingle together in harmony.
Let’s Start with the Most Important.
Your family. Now, of course, this depends on what role you play: son, daughter, mother, father, caretaker, retired and so on. What I want you to see is the people in your lives love you. Even if they don’t respect the field you’ve chosen, you may want to keep them part of your lives. Do that by setting time apart for them. If you spend time with them then it should be easier to arrange to get a few hours a day if you can manage it, to reach your writing goals.
Don’t underestimate what family means at any age. You may push them away otherwise. That may come back to haunt you as you go along in life. I don’t agree with everything when it comes to my extended family, but I still gather with them on occasions. Now that I’m an adult, I see them less and sometimes I miss those get-togethers. Other times, as I discovered over the past year, I enjoy spending time with just my daughter and son. I don’t want to lose that connection with them as they go through the years.
You knew we were going to fit it in there somewhere, didn’t you? You might need this to pay your bills while you write. The reality is: they say it’s increasingly difficult to be supported by just your writing. That’s where the job comes in. To support you and perhaps that family in the years that go along. Maybe you’ll come into some financial success. Maybe you’ll beat the odds. But until then, and perhaps despite them, you might want to hang on through the lean years.
Now, we get down to it. Writing should occupy the time you can afford it. Whether that’s ten minutes a day to eight hours or more. Don’t rush to get to retirement and think now I’ll have all the time I need. The truth is the hours are usually taken up by something. Be it medical appointments, grandchildren, pets, etc. I, honestly, never thought I’d end up disabled. I had a lot of time on my hands at first, when the kids were off to school. Now, I run them to work, run errands, visit all my drs., take my mom and aunt places, and so on. There never seems to be enough time.
However, you can’t use that as an excuse. If you want to write, you will find the way. As I said, put the amount of time you can afford it at any point of your life into. Try as you go along, to add a bit more. The more often you can write, the more practice you’ll get in and the better you’ll improve.
Now, think of all the things you want to do. Hobbies, family time, pets, writing, the job, etc. Put everything into a schedule. Some reserved for weekends when you might have more time. Some spread out during the week. Glance at what you have. I reserve indoor and outdoor time as well in my schedule. Less time, of course, in the winter months outdoor but spring & summertime have to apply to all those jobs we don’t want to do like mowing, weeding, adding mulch, etc.
My schedule starts with my tasks on Sat. & Sun. then it moves to a rotation between Tues. & Thurs. and Mon., Wed., & Fridays. I don’t write on Sat. and Sun. except for the occasional blog I need to fill. Instead I concentrate on podcasts and research. Also, craft books. (These are my writing tasks, there’s time allotted to other things as I explained above.) On Teus. & Thurs., I schedule links, do guest blogs, and write for 3 blogs of my own. This can add up quick. I also research agents, and work on edits. Mon., Wed., & Fri., I work on short stories and poems, character builder, and more editing. The short stories and poems sustain me while I’m editing. When I’m finished, I’ll move on to new WIPs.
These are a few things I do to maintain balance in my day-to-day life. If it suits you, try it! Of course, prioritize things according to you.