“You can’t do a good job, if your job is all you do.” – Unknown
Like everything else you need a balance between writing and life. It’s a proven fact that too much of a good thing can be lethal and that goes for spending all your time writing as well. You sit behind that desk, pouring out word after word and eventually the well runs dry.
It can also hurt you in the other sense as well. You spend so much time digging around in your work and you wind up ignoring your family and friends. Before you know it you’ve isolated everything and your kids are probably screaming for your attention.
When my kids were younger (I’m talking terrible two and troublesome threes stages) I found that it was a literal circus trying to spend time with them and finding a moment to write. Back then it was a hobby and not so much something I was looking to make a career, so it was easier to push aside the writing and focus on the family.
Mostly by writing down a few words while the kids were napping or when they were distracted and didn’t need my immediate attention. Which wasn’t often but like I said, the writing was more of a hobby then and not such a big deal.
Now a days, I’m looking to publish my first novel and trying to perfect my WIP to be that novel, while still maintaining family and friends. The kids are older and are in school most of the day and the husband now works mornings. So I split my time. Mornings are for house work and blogs. Writing is for the afternoon, when I have a couple of hours before I have to pick up the kids. Evenings are for families. It’s when the kids and husband come home and we focus on homework and other such things.
Friends get mixed in there somewhere in the evenings and I only work full time on Saturday and Sunday. I’ve got it nicely blocked out and the only thing that sucks away my time is my ever persistent procrastination. It’s getting a bit out of hand, and I’m in search of a way to keep myself accountable. This blog helps, but once the blog is written and posted there’s still all that time to do nothing but binge watch TV.
That’s a discussion for another time.
For now, here’s a few tips that might help you (and myself) to keep from tipping the scales.
Schedule your day:
Blocking out your time is always an option. Either through your phone, computer, or (my personal favorite) inside of a little notebook. Spend the night before setting up some sort of schedule that goes through your typical day: work, family, etc. Map it out to know when you have those empty slots that you can fit a bit of writing in to. This is particularly useful if you have a family and full time job, or are going to school.
As I’ve mentioned above, having kids makes this all the harder to do because we never know what those tiny creatures have planned, but you can still find ways to push in time for your writing without the kids screaming at you for attention.
Make a day of it.
If you have that option.
Take a day out of the week, let everyone know that you have plans, and focus solely on your writing.
Point is, make your writing a priority and schedule it into your day like you would anything else of importance. That’s going to help you figure out when’s the best time to focus solely on writing that and then allow you to move on to something else for the day. It also helps you create the habit of actually sitting down to write when your suppose to.
Let people know
If writing is more then just a hobby, or you really enjoy your writing time. Let people know what you are doing and ask them to get back with you at another time. The point of finding balance is to make time for everyone and everything in your life. As much as possible anyways.
If they’re friends, they’ll understand.
Treating your writing time like a normal work schedule and informing others lets them know you are serious about your work and allows for less unwarranted distractions to pop up.
Sometimes it’s unavoidable
Life Happens. Things are going to come flying at you and some times they are unavoidable. You have to put something one the back burner to focus on what’s more important. Rather that’s crunching out the words for a deadline that is steady looming over you, or closing the word document so that you can focus more on your family and friends.
In either case, don’t feel guilty. It’s life. And it’s all a balancing act.
Until next time.