Finding balance. We all struggle with it. As mothers, as spouses, as writers, as friends, as volunteers, as employees or employers, as daughters or sons . . . even as pet owners. Thereâ€™s always something or someone demanding a piece of our time. How do we prioritize our needs versus our wants and our musts? We can make ourselves crazy trying to keep up with every email loop, every scrap of marketing news, every chore, everything we think other people expect of us. Everyone and everything that comes into our lives has a purpose and we truly must remember to take the time to enjoy them and celebrate them. However, in doing so, we often shuffle our writing to the bottom of the list, then deadlines become critical or get stuck on the back burner, and we begin to worry and angst, and the next thing we know, weâ€™re not getting anything at all done–including the writing–because weâ€™re so twisted up in knots over everything we have to do and what all weâ€™re not getting done that we simply shut down and donâ€™t do anything.
Did I hear an â€œAmen, Sisterâ€ just now?
Well, stop and take a deep breath. If youâ€™re like me and youâ€™re not a disciplined, stick-to-a-schedule type person, then break down your want-to-dos, should-dos, and must-dos into a system that works for you. Perhaps earmark two days a week to play, read, lunch with friends, whatever, (totally guilt-free!) and mark off the other three as writing days. (And guard that time as though itâ€™s sacred. Itâ€™s your time. Donâ€™t let anyone else–including yourself–infringe upon it.) Or set aside two or three mornings or afternoons a week for your writing, and the rest of the time is for living and loving and filling your creative well. Or write just one page each day, just one, and spend the rest of the day as you please. The feeling of accomplishment in completing one page of writing can be quite awesome–especially if youâ€™ve worked yourself into a tizzy of inactivity and non-writing.
Itâ€™s the little ways we work up to getting things done that will help us find that balance we all crave. Give yourself permission to skip email for an entire day–or the entire weekend!
Most of all, don’t forget to count the blessings in your life. Good friends. Children and grandchildren. Parents. A special neighbor. Your beloved pets. Your God-given talent and creativity and ability to put words on paper and create an entertaining story that will touch someoneâ€™s life in some way. Celebrate each of your successes. Wallow in them. Do the snoopy-dance and kiss the postman in your excitement because your manuscript has been handed off to the senior editor, or an agent has requested a partial, or your editor has given you rave compliments and smiley faces along with your revisions. Donâ€™t wait–start celebrating right now.
Whatever it takes, find that system of balance so that you can experience all of the wonderful joys of feeling fulfilled in your life.For all of you out there who are mothers . . . Happy Motherâ€™s Day!! And for those of you who arenâ€™t, then . . . Happy Day! My wish for you all this month is that you will find balance and fulfillment and happiness between your personal life and your writing life.
Mindy Neff Winner of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award and Reviewers Choice Award. OCC/RWA Co-President http://www.mindyneff.com/