Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Balance: Part One — Finding Balance for Your Writing

Right about now, I'll bet a lot of you are thinking about balance. The Christmas Season is upon us, and although I know there are some of you men out there panicking, I can only speak true in this post about the woman's perspective. Some of us right now are downright bonkers.
It is this time of year that I start thinking about next year's Christmas shopping. Not in the way you're thinking, either. A dialogue starts. "Next year," I mutter to myself, "it's going to be different. Next year I'll start in August."

Of course, that never happens. Year after year, I lurch myself and my badly wounded credit card toward the 25th, knowing that it will never change for me, only I for it. Somehow we always make it through.
After Christmas, with hospital-grade amounts of Turkey and wine sedative effects, I always sit and plan my useless plans for the next year. It is at Christmas that my most valiant attempts at work-life balance are tested severely.

So, how on earth do we balance our lives with our writing? Home life, work life, sleep, precious all, take precedence only too often.How do we carve out some meaningful time?

Schedule it. Make one chunk of one day of one week yours for just writing. Turn off the phone, and send kids to a friends or out with Mom or Dad. Which leads me to...

Ask for help. And don't expect people to guess that you need it, because they won't. Standing there with a Martha Stewart frozen grin on your face while kicking the garbage bags behind a convenient closet door won't give them a clue, either. In your native tongue, ask.

Set realistic goals. Sure, it would be great to push that story out the door in time for the Big Kindle Rush post-Christmas. But is racing to finish going to compromise your story? If so, then you may want to work on it a bit longer. I guess a subset of this would be...

Be honest with yourself. This one is hard. I do this all the time. Sure, I'll take that one hour between the last load of laundry and making the cookies and starting Sunday dinner to yank some literary brilliance out of my hind end... Yeah, right. That one hour is usually spent hiding in the bathroom reading a two month old Reader's Digest while fending off cookie inquiries by small children. (And I don't care what you say, nobody's boss is more demanding than a kid wanting to stir batter.) However, this brings me to...

Push yourself. A little, anyway. Stretching yourself hurts at first (two posts a week? Becky, really???), but once you get going, you'll be surprised at what you can actually accomplish. Hmm... I think I have an hour free... wonder what I can do with it...?

Tell me about your balancing acts. How do you do it, fabulous authors?

Stay tuned: In Thursday's post, Balance: Part Two — Finding the Balance Within Your Writing.

Happy Writing!
Kate Burns

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