Friday, August 23, 2013

Juggling for Writers

Balance. It’s a topic I’ve blogged about before. More than once, actually. It’s a topic worth blogging about again. Why? Because some comments I received on my last blog post reminded me that balance is a topic that is vitally important. If you didn’t read my last post, I talked about the importance of having a blog or website as part of your author platform. My readers reminded me how difficult it is to do all the things we have to do and be able to make time to write.

Balance is always, always, always going to be an issue for every single one of us. Very few of us are exclusively writers. We’re also parents, children, spouses, and employees. We all have other responsibilities. It’s hard to juggle everything without sometimes dropping at least one ball. Though there are times we might be able to juggle all our various responsibilities, eventually our arms are going to get tired. Balance isn’t just about doing everything we have to do, it’s about also finding time to do the things we want to do.

Even if you don’t have a job or a spouse or kids or family, you’re still a human being. You need to nurture your body and mind. You still need to find balance. And, there will still be times you either can’t find the time to write, or you feel guilty for not writing enough.

Guilt is a huge issue for me. I feel guilty for being on Facebook when I should be writing. I feel guilty for writing when I should be bringing our household up to minimum standards of cleanliness. I feel guilty for watching television when I should be marketing my book. Even when I am doing something productive, I feel guilty for not being the best mom, wife, housekeeper, bread-winner, author, or friend.

If you’re rapidly scanning  this blog post looking for a magic cure to all your balance problems, I’m sorry to disappoint you. There is no right answer. There’s no perfect schedule for you to follow. There will always be conflicts in your life and you will constantly have to readjust your priorities and juggle your hopes, dreams, and responsibilities.

But, wait! I won’t send you away empty-handed. I do have something to give you.

Permission.

I’m giving you permission NOT to feel guilty. Permission to ignore the bloggers who tell you it’s necessary to write every single day in order to be a real writer. Permission to ignore the experts who say you must commit a certain number of hours to marketing. Permission to order pizza because you’re finally in the zone with your writing and you don’t want to stop to make dinner. Permission to take care of your own health without feeling guilty about going for two weeks without writing a single word.

This doesn’t mean giving up on your dream or wallowing in excuses. If you want to be a writer, you’re still going to have to write. But, if you’re working a full time job, coaching a football team, waking up in the middle of the night with an infant, and checking in on an elderly relative every day after work, you probably won’t be able to devote as much time to writing as someone with a less demanding schedule. Does that make you less of a writer? No.

Squeeze your writing in when you can. If you commit to a deadline, be sure to add in a little wiggle room because you never know what life might throw at you. Adjust and readjust your schedule as necessary. And, most importantly, take time out to do the things that give you joy–without feeling guilty–because, if you don’t, you haven’t achieved balance.

Balance means finding a happy place where you’re able to do most of the things you need to do WHILE still finding time to do some of the things you want to do WHILE still finding time to rest, relax, and recharge.

Simple, right? Nope. Nothing worth having is ever easy. Finding that elusive balance is tough, but worth fighting for. We can do it.

If you have any suggestions, tips, or advice on how to find balance, leave a comment. Or, if you’re stressed to the max with all the things you have to do, leave a comment. Vent. Let it all out. I’ll give you permission to slack off on writing/ housework/ whatever. This is a guilt-free zone.

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