Keeping a Little Balance—and Sanity

Written exclusively for The Ink Puddle

theinkpuddlebuttonMost authors like me would absolutely love it if writing were the only thing we had to do every day. Oh my goodness, just thinking about how much I’d get accomplished pulls my lips into a smile, but then reality sets back in and I remember all the other things piling up on my “to do” list. My smile fades as the stress rolls in. But there has to be a way to balance things out, a way to keep things simplified. A way to get everything else done so our writing can take center stage with a mind free of daily worries and hiccups. Sounds good, right?

First of all, I think it’s very important to create some kind of schedule—and do whatever it takes to stick to it. More often than not, I’ll see writer friends of mine complaining about being on Facebook and not finishing their edits. I’m certainly guilty of doing that myself, so that’s why I think it’s very important to set social media boundaries, and including that in your schedule can be very helpful. Also, setting a goal as to how many words you’re required to type each day is a crucial detail. Know how much time it typically takes for you to reach your daily word goal. That way when you block out X amount of time for writing, you’ll know how much to allot yourself. What other daily tasks do you have? Perhaps you can bundle those up and do them weekly instead? For example, house chores and laundry can be done once or twice a week, and the same can apply to grocery shopping and running other errands. On the days you have those extra things going on, obviously it’s going to cut into your writing time, so try to get extra words typed on other days to make up for the slack. Typically I work Monday through Friday on my books and my daily goal is 1,000 words, which gives me 5,000 words a week. If, by the end of the week, I haven’t reached my objective, then that means I’m working on the weekend. That way when Monday comes rolling around, I’m not already stressed from being behind.

Another way to keep some balance is by creating an outlet in the form of a hobby, something you absolutely love doing that will take your mind off everything else if only for a short while. A couple of my hobbies are exercising and horseback riding. I get up early every morning to incorporate my workouts, and once a week, I’ll steal a few hours to go on a horseback ride. Though this creates something else to squeeze on the calendar, I think it’s vital (and healthy) to make it work—whatever your hobby may be. I also enjoy getting my hair done, which thankfully I only have to do about every six weeks, but still, I have to plan that time accordingly as my hair appointments can easily take three hours of my day. So I’ll either need to try to make that time up on another weekday, or…that’s right, I’ll be writing on the weekend.

So what about you? Would incorporating a schedule help you accomplish the tasks you’re not completing? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you keep the balance between writing (or reading) and all your other responsibilities.

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