In the last issue of my newsletter, I included a post on achieving balance between your writing life and the crush of holiday festivities and responsibilities. But what about other times? Don’t writers need balance in their lives during the rest of the year?
The answer is YES! The larger question, however, may lie deep in the “how to” part of the balancing equation.
Much like the gymnast in this image achieving balance is no easy task. For the gymnast, it means hours of training, concentration on each move, and maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle. This adds up to total commitment on her part.
To stay healthy in body and mind, our gymnast likely still has a life outside gymnastics. So her commitment is to balance both in the gym and away from it.
Here are a few ways that we as writers can create balance in our lives like our focused gymnast friend:
- Begin now reviewing your accomplishments in 2014. Follow that up with establishing your goals for 2015.
- Once you have your goals established, fill in an editorial calendar with blog posts, podcasts, guest posts and interviews, and whatever applies to your writing.
- As part of your editorial calendar, be sure to leave some time open for social networking, i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. This time should also include reading and commenting on blog posts by those you follow regularly.
- Now it’s important to insert time for working out, going to the gym, taking a walk with the dog, yoga, whatever you use to relax and get your mind and body in a state of contemplation for writing.
- Don’t forget to plug in some time for your family or friends. This is all important for you as much as it is for them. You can’t be a writing hermit forever, although those days when you can it feels really good, doesn’t it?
I can hear what you’re saying: “She has no idea what I have to do every day.” “When am I going to get the grocery shopping done?” “What about the laundry and taking the kids to after school activities?” And more!
I know what you’re saying. I used to work full-time and more, am a mother and wife, participated in volunteer activities, and ran the ever popular athletic bus route. And I know the sense of pressure the every day demands of life can bring to your already packed schedule.
Nothing I suggest here is written in stone. These are just that … suggestions. Massage them, manipulate them, keep what you can use, and toss the rest. Add your own ideas. What I have offered is how I manage my time and calendaring.
For example, as I’ll be sharing in a post coming up in a few days, I set a goal for myself that by the end of December 2014 (only a few days away), I would have finished my memoir manuscript. I cannot mark that off my goals or to do list as completed. Why?
In December 2013, my husband injured his back and was completely disabled until surgery in March 2014. At the same time, I was suffering from a respiratory issue, and life around home got miserably behind.
I had to clear my calendar, push things out, forget about deadlines and guest posts, etc. I had only one focus and that was taking care of my husband, myself and our home.
Adjustments can and often are made to anything we set up. Do not think that any calendar, goal list, or deadline is always firm.
Great tips, Sherrey. Whatever we plan, we need to allow flexibility. After all, writing should be enjoyable, not something we feel pressured to do.
Thanks, Joan, for underscoring flexibility so well!
You have sensible goals, Sherrey and the wisdom to know they may be altered. I hope this year will see you surging forward to your goals. I have signed up for a course to write the first draft of my memoir in 2015, well aware that there may be unexpected interruptions. We do the best we can with God’s help!
You always pick the perfect photos for your posts.
Marian, I’m excited about your course to write your first draft. And yes, unexpected interruptions have a way of find a small crack in our otherwise well-planned days. I’m glad you enjoy my photo selections.
Great advice, Sherrey! Wishing you all the best in 2015.
Welcome, Janet! So good to have you with us. I’m glad you found the advice helpful, and I return the wishes for the best in 2015 to you!
Balance is very important for me in order to get anything done. My goals can change from time to time as life events happen and I need more time and space to work with them. These are great tips, Sherrey. Thanks.
Hi Joan and thanks for your input. I like your words “My goals can change from time to time as life events happen and I need more time and space to work with them.” Thinking on that would be a good way to start the day.
Even bingers like me need balance. We just balance larger stones or chunks of time.
Sharon, your comments made me chuckle. This has been me for far too long. I swore after this surgery I’d be a better balancer and planner in small chunks.
It’s wonderful to have you back, Sherrey! I’m happy to see you are getting on the other side of all your health trials.Your points about creating balance are succinct and do-able. I can never be reminded enough about the importance of prioritizing, organizing and taking time away and nurturing my life outside of the writing. I think striking that balance—which usually requires trial and error–is the key to enjoying the writing. BTW, your new website is beautiful, appealing to the eye and easy to navigate.
Kathy, thanks for the welcome back. It feels good to be getting back in the swing of being of online and blogging again. Glad you found the post a helpful reminder, and thanks for your comments on the new look.
Hello Sherrey, nice post.
The key for my publication goal was to build a schedule with a LOT of fudge factor time. If I thought a task would take a week, I budgeted a month. But as we know, life happens, like my father’s death, unexpected travel, a new job, a new commute, a move, and certain publishing decisions, so you can imagine that my schedule slid to the right. I was pleased that I ended up only 2 weeks off the original date. But you know what? I should have let myself off the hook had it been 2 months later. Yes, flexibility!
(By the way – I was a gymnast when I was quite young, and the balance beam was my best event. But no, gymnasts don’t have a life outside gymnastics!)
Valerie, welcome to the discussion. I like “a LOT of fudge factor time.” And all the things you’ve listed are the ones that usually happen right in the middle of deadlines, etc. I’m impressed you ended up only 2 weeks off the original date!
(Thanks for the note on gymnasts and a life outside gymnastics! I should have done my fact checking a bit more closely.)
So true Sherrey. I enjoyed that newsletter. It somehow gave me license to breathe. I always feel if I don’t keep up daily with tasks that there will be much more piling up. We just have to make time for all the things that make us happy in our short lives here on this earth, including time allowance for mishaps in life. 🙂
“License to breathe” is a good way to express it, Debby. I’ve grown up and worked professionally believing I had to clear off the to do list each day. Sometimes it’s just not possible or reasonable. Thanks for being such a constant visitor.
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