How to Find A Balanced Writing Life

I have learned, as a rule of thumb, never to ask whether you can do something. Say, instead, that you are doing it. Then fasten your seat belt. The most remarkable things follow.
Julia Cameron

If you’re not familiar with Julia Cameron you might want to pick up, The Artist’s Way, for many creative people this was the book that changed the way they felt about the creative process. I am not surprised when I hear writers, artists and other creative people say that this book changed their life. So I was surprised to hear that she has written a diet book, The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size.

And although I haven’t read it yet, reviews have been for the most part positive. From what I hear it’s more about balance in your life than eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day.

You hear this term used frequently on business and self-help websites,but what does it really mean?

For example, the other day I spent 4 hours online reading other blogs, doing a little marketing, reading emails and generally wasting time… granted I got up at 5:00 a.m. but 4 hours? On the other hand when I was working out regularly I got up at 7:00 a.m. to be at the gym at 8:00 a.m., did my 1 1/2 hour workout and spent little time online or writing. Now hear comes the balance part, both activities ended up taking a majority of my free time, so when I was going to the gym I wasn’t writing in the morning, when I was writing in the morning I wasn’t going to the gym.

How to find balance

1. Identify what’s really important to you that day/week/month. Making money writing or fulfilling your creative need. Becoming healthy or writing a poem.

2. Schedule your week. Make appointments for work, gym, and fun time.

3. Don’t let one activity monopolize your time. Unless you’re on a deadline for a book, find time for other activities.

4. Resist the all or nothing approach. I can’t exercise because I want to write in the morning. My compromise- walking to work every day and going to the gym at night.

5. Learn How to Say NO. Your time is valuable, treat it as such.

6. Beware of Time Suckers. After my 4 hour internet excursion I decided to start setting a timer for my morning internet time. Eek I have only 10 minutes left. This cuts down on the “where did the time go?”

7. Consider a weekly writing schedule. Monday- business stuff, writing/sending queries, marketing, finding markets. Tuesday- just for fun poetry. Wednesday-writing contests. Of course, fit in your interests to your week.

8. Maybe a vacation? Just like trainers recommend an occasional week off, you may need a vacation from writing?

Today, ask yourself if your life is balanced. If it’s not what could you do to get back in balance. Suggestions in the comment section would be appreciated. Now get back to work!

The Writing Nag

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One Reply to “How to Find A Balanced Writing Life”

  1. I’ve started “allowing” myself to goof off a little on the computer: answering personal e-mails, looking up that favorite movie on, etc.
    For instance, I’ll set a particular time to start work on freelance writing, usually 8:30 or 9 a.m. Then it’s up to me to get up early enough so I have time to goof off before I knuckle down for the day.
    Same thing at the end of the day: I’ll knock off at 5 or 5:30 p.m., then have 30 minutes or so of goofing off before I sign off to warm up dinner (assuming I have leftovers!).
    Of course, you have to be somewhat flexible, but this has helped me. I feel less guilty about doing personal stuff when I “should” be working.

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