Monday, July 18, 2011

All Work, No Play?

Ever feel like a type of “Energizer Bunny” that keeps going and going, and going?  But in your case it’s writing, writing, writing, editing, editing, editing, revising, revising, revising, querying, querying, querying?  If so I can relate.

For some reason I believe us writers are programmed this way.  We have an inward drive to succeed, and we have goals.  We’re driven towards a target whether that be finishing a manuscript, a date we want to query by, edits we want to finish, or a date we want to publish by.  Sometimes the timeframe is set by us, and sometimes it’s put in place by others.  

But at what cost are we pursing our goals?

I believe that it’s important for us to take time to just be ourselves, to unwind, to allow ourselves to have time away – guilt-free – from the WIP, the edits, the querying, the marketing, the networking, and just be us.  Why?  Because if we don’t we risking losing it all together.  Our focus will be so off-kilter it would be like a sky diver trying to balance a level – it’s not going to happen.

So if you find yourself unbalanced, how can you fix it?

Go for a walk.  Clear your head.  Think about anything but your WIP.

Confide in someone.  Hate to say it, but sometimes just speaking to someone can help balance everything.

Readjust your goals.   Maybe you really don’t need to have everything accomplished by the timeframe you have in mind?

Realign your goals/possibly readjust to make them more reasonable.  You have 540 pages to edit, you have a full-time job, but you give yourself two weeks to hard edit and enter.  Realistic?  Not necessarily.

Set aside time for everything.  Do you have time in your life for family, friends, exercise, proper diet, recreation, or are you consumed by your love of writing?

Maybe you don't think your life is out of balance at all, and maybe it's not.  In that case, I applaud you.  

But I believe everyone should ask themselves this question:  has your lifestyle changed since you've focused on your writing?

Of course, that's a very personal question, but an important one.

If you've experienced this "tightrope" of trying to balance life with your writing, how do you manage to keep "level"?