Saturday, January 8, 2011

Finding That Elusive Beast called Balance

Now that’s my initial week of daily blogging has passed, It’s obvious I need to find the balance between the writing/blogging/critting/blog hopping/ twitter/email half of my life and the day job, pay-attention-to-the-dogs, house work, sleeping, cooking & shopping half of my life.

You’d think, from the way my dogs are craving my attention, that I’ve been gone for a month. Good Lord, all four of them have started vying for my attention while I’m on the internet computer. Do you have any idea how hard it is to type with four Golden Retrievers trying to climb into your lap? They spill onto the keyboard!

So far I have been doing great on the writing, blogging and critting end of thing. And I suppose I can include the Evil Day Job on this list of things I’ve managed to accomplish every day.

However, my dogs quite obviously feel I haven’t spent nearly enough time with them. My house is a mess. I missed dinner three times last week because I forgot to leave time for cooking before bed. I am out of coffee, dog food, cat food and anything edible for a human. And I didn’t make my 8:30 bed time once last week. Several times I didn’t get to bed until 11:00 pm.

Since I get up at 4:00 am, that early bedtime is critical. Without it, I get up late, or I get up on time and I’m exhausted all day. Exhaustion and creativity do not mix well for me. Yeah, I’m getting the hours in, but my production rate is down. Nor did I manage to get up at 3:30 even one day last week, which was the plan for this year.

I think I’ll try to whip out a couple of blogs over the weekend and schedule them to post during the week. That should take some of the pressure off.

Does anyone have any strategies for balancing the writing, along with building a web presence and managing to keep up with the rest of your life?

If you do, I’d love to hear them.


  1. The problem with creativity is it often cannot be scheduled. Once I admit that, I no longer get those anxious feelings when I sit down to write and find that the brain isn't in a sharing mode. I can, however, pay attention to when my creativity is most likely to stir. Long drives (such as the kind I used to take to work, or the kind I go on to visit my family) often stir those creative juices. So does shopping for some odd reason. For such times, obviously I can't whip out the computer and start writing, so I utilize a digital recorder and get the ideas going. Sometimes it's nothing more than some clever dialogue that pops into my head, sometimes it's something I need to research, something I realize I wrote that needs to be fixed. Sometimes I dictate story copy -- it doesn't come out perfect but it's good enough that when I type it, a little editing can bring out pure gold. Other than that, alarms for remembering to cook and go to work...

  2. My creativity goes on a vacation if I neglect other things in my life. If there is too much in the back of mind mind, knocking on the door to get my attention, then I just can't write. I've learned a long time ago that ignoring other things in my life isn't productive.
    My real life is pretty busy--husband, kids, animals, bills, etc, etc, so I have had to learn to fit my writing into my real life, not the other way around.

  3. Hi Kay,

    Thanks for stopping by. Driving always spurs my creativity too. So does showering for some odd reason. LOL

    But back to driving, if I listen to music while driving the creativity starts to really swirl. Music stimilates me big time. I used to have a digital recorder, but haven't used it in years. I'll have to see if I can hunt it down.

  4. That's an excellent point Brenda,

    And a very healthy one I think. It shows you've already found the balance in your life. Which would be so hard with a family to juggle.

  5. Hi Trish - After all our business records are in order to give the CPA this month, I'm going to attempt to give myself a writing schedule to work around office time. 10 AM - 3 PM daily is my goal. I should have time to work-out, shuffle office paperwork around, spend time with my boys when they come home from school, grocery shop & cook a hot meal, and even dink with my horses when the weather warms up. But we'll see what fate thinks of my plans.

  6. I have no idea how to balance my life. If you the way to do it let me know. Pretty please.

  7. If you find a strategy, let me know. My life is unbalanced too. I'm not doing as much as I should. I need to do something about that.

  8. I think that is one of my biggest challenges is balancing. I am so focused on finishing what I start that it becomes crazy busy.
    They say to write down a schedule and go by that. Also to jot down where you spend your time in one day. That way you can pinpoint any wasted time. Wish we didn't have to sleep. Vampirsim sounds a bit appealing, doesn't? J/K

  9. Mika,

    I like writing schedules too. Right now I've scheduled the hours from 4:30 am to 7:00 am. I try to write during lunch at work. But that isn't always possible. I think I'll schedule another hour though right after I get home. From maybe 5:30 to 6:30 pm. I usually tinker around on the internet for that hour and waste it away.

  10. Sandy,

    If I find out the secret, I will pass it along ASAP. However, there may be a fee involved. *G

  11. Edie,

    You are one of the hardest working writers I know. And now you've added self promotion on top of the writing, which is extremely time consuming. From the outside, looking in, it looks to me like you are accomplishing a ton of stuff.

  12. Martha,

    I do have a writing schedule that works really well for me. It's the other stuff that falls along the wayside. Maybe I should try to write a schedule up that includes the rest of my life too. LOL

  13. I get more work done at night. During the day, there are too many interruptions...although I try to get some writing done. I function on 6 hrs sleep a night, until I need to crash and sleep maybe 10 hrs one night. Balancing time is just not the same every day.

  14. I keep telling myself I'm going to give myself a writing schedule.

    I never do.

    I either find "life getting in the way",or my creative well dead.

    Thank goodness i work from a netbook computer - compact enough to take to doctor's offices and write in the waiting room.

    When I was trying ti edit a 27,000 word story down to 20,000, I had an appointment at a dental clinic where i knew I could be kept for half a day - so i took it along and got over 2 hpours of work done. With no Wifii in the building - i had no internet distractions, either!

  15. The trick for me is schedule, schedule, schedule! I couldn't really find a writing groove going for the past months because of health problems and also since kids were at home on the summer break, but tomorrow they go back to school and I get my 'free' days back.

    I try to keep the mornings for online stuff (email, FB, etc) then asap this is done I park my butt down and write. Some days I can get that going between 10 am- 2pm. At 3 pm I pick my son from school and that's when I go into the kitchen (dishes from last night & breakfast, cooking for the evening). Somewhere in between there, I may drop by my blog to post the day's stuff. Evenings are family and me time. Dinner, I may drop by to check email and tinker with my FB games (my big de-stressor!), and then I'll spend some time with the hubs when kiddo's in bed, watch some TV and get some reading done before I head off to bed around 10 pm.

    Actually, when I was in the hospital, the ward rounds started at 4 am. I had no trouble waking at that time, and I often went to bed around 10-11 pm. Might try to emulate that at home now, except that this would need a catnap around 1 pm.

  16. Marianne,

    I'm most productive these days between 4:00 and 7:00 am. I do write at night sometimes, if I need to make up words. But by then my brain is tired, and the words don't flow as smoothly.

    I would love to be able to fuction on 6 hours of sleep. But I've found if I don't get at least 7 hours, then the creativity just isn't there. The words don't flow, I can't think of the perfect word choice. It gets so frustrating.

  17. Ike,

    Thanks for stopping by, as well as the blog follow. I have writing buddies who take their netbooks everywhere they go and get alot done while waiting at various places.

    I don't even have a laptop anymore. Sigh- so I end up reading other work if I have to wait somewhere.

    I echo you on the internet being a distraction though. My writing computer isn't connected to the internet for exactly that reason. Just before I sit down to write I turn the livingroom/internet computer off so there is no access to email or twitter or my blog. LOL

  18. Zee,

    I think the key for me is going to be scheduling too. I've been scheduling the writing in for the last year and sticking to that schedule for the most part.

    What I need to do now, is schedule the blogging/blog hopping in now- and stick to that schedule. Maybe then things will balance out better.

    BTW- you have my tremendous respect for managing as much as you do with a child, and a hubby and undergoing radiation. Here's hoping after you finish your radiation in two weeks, 2011 ends up being much less chaotic and stressful for you.

  19. Thanks Trish. I'm really looking forward to that too. :)