Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 Tips for Striking the "Write" Balance

I love to write. I write stories, books, and this blog. As I write this post, my baby girl is pulling things out of the desk drawer next to me. At the moment, she’s only happy if she's right where I am, and exploring new things at the same time, so I have to find creative ways to entertain her while still accomplishing anything at all. I'll clean up the mess she's making later.

Even before I had a baby, though, at times, writing was a challenge to fit into my life. Balancing family, work, housekeeping, eating, sleeping, and still finding time to write can be difficult, to say the least.

When I get really excited about a project, though, I always somehow find time. Unfortunately, it’s my sleep that tends to suffer for it. And I fear sometimes my family doesn’t see as much of me as they should for a while. I love writing so I don’t find it hard to set aside other recreational activities for it. But still, balance is key.
 Here are several things I have found that help:

1. Make an outline. I was resistant to this for a long time, but now I am sold. With a DETAILED outline, I can relax, knowing my thoughts are recorded and safe. Then I can work on a book when I get time. If I have to set it aside for days or weeks, it's okay. I'll be able to remember where I was going and how to get there.

2. Make goals, then write. I tend to want to dart to the computer and start typing away the moment the baby is asleep and the house is quiet. Unfortunately, there are a lot of other things that need to get done during these precious, quiet hours. I try to set goals. Check off a few things from the list first, then write. If I reverse the order, I almost never get back to the to-do list.

3. Take every opportunity. I keep the files I am working on open on my computer so it's easy to type a few lines here and there. I also jot down notes on paper and keep an ideas notebook so that I can capture my thoughts while they are still occurring, before they flee.

4. Always be thinking. When I can't write, I can still think. No matter where I am, I often find myself thinking about my stories. I'll work out specific scenes, lines, and dialogue in my head. If I can get to a computer soon enough, it's just like transcribing because it's already laid out in vivid detail in my mind.

5. Don't fight the current. If it really isn't happening, just accept it and go with it. Some days, my daughter will play happily while I write. Other days, the second I sit down at the computer, she starts fussing. It just frustrates everyone involved if I try too hard to push forward on these days. If I take a break and play with her for a while, we're both happier and sometimes, she'll calm down and let me write. Either way, I'm not being productive or respecting my priorities when I choose writing over my family, so I try not to.

Even so, it's not always easy. That leaves me wondering as I write this post, do other people have such a hard time striking the “write” balance, if you will? Even if you don't actually write, how do you make time for the things you love to do? It’s all about priorities, I know. Still, I’d love to know what your challenges are with balancing writing/hobbies and the rest of your life. How have you tried to overcome these obstacles, successfully or unsuccessfully?

1 comment:

  1. These are awesome guidlines for any creative persute! Even as an artist I have to remember to use these or I end up not creating anything for monnths.


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