Happy Balance

I’ve got a question for you. What is the meaning of life? I sure as hell have no clue, but I have decided a few things about my own life. I’ve decided that I want to be well-rounded. I want to be able to sleep in on weekend mornings or mornings after a rough few days in a row. I want to enjoy the parts of life that make me happy. Whether that’s read a good book, watch a television show, or movie. I want to be able to do other things in my life besides write books, blog about books, tweet about books and FaceBook about books. I’ve decided that if I don’t get something done one day, I can do it the next. Will I make my deadline for a book or blog, yes, absolutely. I am a perfectionist and I strive to be on time for deadlines, but in between those deadlines I like singing to my own tune.

I’ve discovered that putting pressure on myself to do ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY only makes me NOT want to do that one thing. I need variety. I get inspiration doing other things.

My hat is off to the writers that can pump out three, four or five books a year. That is a dedication beyond measure. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to imply that these people don’t have lives. I’m sure they’re very happy pumping out all those books. I’ve just discovered it’s okay for me to go at my own pace. As Jon Bon Jovi sang it: It’s My Life.

What about you? Do you put pressure on yourself to do things and find you get burnt out more quickly or do you thrive on the pressure to do it all?

Have a great day and remember… You heard it here.

Dee J.

Comments

Happy Balance — 19 Comments

  1. I can be very focused when I’m working toward a goal. I think it comes from the old RN in me where I had to be responsible for other’s well being. It drives me crazy when other people don’t keep their word. But inbetween goals, I do have a tendency to fritter away my life with daydreams and girl stuff and I do procrastinate a lot. I’m also old enough to know how I work and that is, “exceptionally well when under pressure.” Ha ha.

    • Hi Robena,
      I’m sure your work as an RN has instilled absolute focus in you! I used to be more single minded, but I’ve discovered my interests are broadening a little. I seem to be juggling different things lately and I’m enjoying all them because of the variety. I like your word “fritter.” LOL. I may steal it!

    • Hi Janie,
      I don’t mind deadlines…as long as they are far away. LOL. I tend to get things done early so as not to freak out when the actual deadline hits.

  2. There is so much in this life that I like doing, that I believe it all balances itself out without too much forcing it. I do feel like I don’t write enough – not enough words in enough days. Because the garden will call to me, or a play that I must see, or a movie…then the writing tugs again and the wheel turns.
    I’m with you – I can’t be a one-note gal. Not possible. Now I just need to figure out how to squeeze a few more hours in the day, so I can do everything I really want to do…

  3. I am totally a variety type of person, but that also can bring burn out for me. I need my cave days where I never leave the house and only get out of my pajamas in the evening to take a shower and get into a clean pair of pajamas. I don’t want several of those days, but one every once in a while where I don’t have to be places at certain times is so, so nice. Maybe September?

    • Hi Maria,
      I so hear that! I haven’t had one of those days in eons!! Even though I haven’t been at a 9-5 job, I have to be up to get my family out the door. Then life seems to take over and I’m swamped. The day ends and I still didn’t finish what I was supposed to do. It’s mind boggling.

  4. I’m constantly struggling with this situation. I commit to WAY more than I should, especially since I have some family responsibilities that are non-negotiable. I am a real stickler for keeping my word, and yet I’m finding it harder and harder to do…in a timely manner.

    The funny thing is, I keep saying if X happens, I’ll have more time for me. But as soon as I’m done with one ‘must do’ project, another one pops up. And the frustrating thing is, they ARE ‘must do.’ I don’t consider FB and Twitter must do’s, but I’m usually on FB a couple of times a day…Twitter, I shoot for once a day, but that’s not always doable. It can get overwhelming at times.

    Be advised world: Next year Kathy Bennett is not going to commit to nearly as many things. She is going to concentrate on her writing career and finding time to do more reading, and maybe sewing, and spending more time with her family – who she now pencils in on her calendar…and then sometimes cancels the appointment!

    • Hi Kathy,
      I feel like I’m in the same shoes. Where do these things crop up from? We definitely need to find time to put ourselves first every so often. Maybe not all the time, but more than we currently allow. And let me add… now I feel guilty for asking your time. Remember… You are allowed to say, “No.” 🙂

  5. Oh, I put so much pressure on myself. This was a great post, Deanne. I’ve been struggling a lot with this lately. I feel so inadequate with all the things that I need/want to do with my writing career and often forget to just take some time to myself. Lately, though, I just want to shut off the computer, the TV, the phone, and just BE with myself or my family. *sigh* Have I? Not yet. Because you know, then I’ll feel like I’m missing something. Oy.

    • Hi Robin,
      I feel your pain. It’s the…”If I do this now, what will I be missing over there?” problem. We just have to live in the now and enjoy what’s in front of us. If I get a break from doing one thing, then I’d like to think I’ll tackle it that much better when I get back to it. Maybe. LOL. At least I hope so! I’ll tell you what I tell my daughter… Quit putting so much pressure on yourself. Life is too short. Now I need to practice what I preach!

  6. You are not alone. Repeat. You are not alone. We all struggle with this. I’ve always had a priority structure for my life. Family first. Everything else falls inline behind that where I take a decidedly socialist view (the only place in my life that I do) toward it. How does this work? My time is allocated according to the rule, to each according to their need. If I need to write (can’t help myself, gotta get the words out) that gets the greatest portion of my time. If I need to grocery shop, that gets top priority, etc. But family is always first even if it means the nap I desperately need has to be postponed or worse, scrapped. Needless to say, housework rarely hits the top of the list unless company is coming, or I can’t find my laptop under all the dust. Thankfully, now that I self-pub, all my deadlines are self-imposed and I decide when they will be.
    So, that’s my system. Works for me.

    • Hi Roz,
      Thank you. Good to know I’m not alone. Seriously. Sounds like you’ve got the hang of it with your priorities. I’m just sitting here on my unicycle juggling life (and dare I say it, hoping not to drop any balls).

  7. You can’t make it to my age without surviving under pressure. I’ve met all of my deadlines, but like you, don’t want writing to define my entire life.

    For instance – I am currently at a writing retreat and have accomplished a lot. However yesterday my friend came to stay and we had a play day (after 4 days solo I was going squirely). We did the workout room in the morning and had a SPA afternoon, then a great dinner and lots of good conversation. Today, I got back into writing, though only wrote in the morning, then went to see Snow White and the Huntsman and loved it! I am now pumped to put in more time on this book. I’m also looking forward to returning home to my husband and family. What would life be without them? No bundle of books could make up for that.

    • Hi Lynne,
      I’m so jealous of your writing retreat! Sounds like a blast! I’m going to agree with you. I like the diversified road my life has taken. I need to see that movie too! Maybe it will inspire me. Thanks for stopping by while on your retreat!

  8. As soon as I saw the title of your blog, I knew I had to read it. It might seem a little selfish, but I’m always relieved to see that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. I am not a three book a year writer. Not even close. I have young children, a day job, and now a newborn, and it’s just not possible to work everything in. I know. I’ve tried. And tried. And have the gray hair to prove it. ; ) It’s so easy to get caught up in what you “should” be doing.

    My publisher just found me a new and much closer publishing slot for my new book…one that would require 8 hour editing days for two weeks..and I had to turn them down. Bad career move, but really, how often do you get to watch a newborn smile in her sleep? Or feel that velvety head nestled against your chin?

    It’s priorities.

    • Hi Shawna!
      I couldn’t agree with you more. It is priorities. And you are so NOT alone! Everyone deals with different circumstances and we just have to decide what comes first. I think family probably comes first for most people – especially those of us with kids. Ultimately it’s about doing what makes us happy and allocating our time proportionately. As far as my writing goes… Look, I know I won’t ever be Nora Roberts simply because she has that 25 year jump on me in publishing. So do I have to pump out 4 books a year? No, I don’t. I just have to write what I’m contracted to write and decide after that what comes next. On my schedule and no one elses. Take a deep breath and just enjoy life. Do the things that make you happy. (Like watching your newborn smile in her sleep. )

  9. So timely. I was just talking about this very subject. I believe that doing other things enriches your soul and actually makes you (me) a better writer. And now that I’ve taken the pressure off myself, I can enjoy staring at a blank screen and creating something from nothing. I still have to meet deadlines but I’ve given myself the freedom to do it on my own schedule and what do you know…it all gets done! I understand some people need a structure and stick to a schedule but I just don’t operate that way. That’s one of the advantages of this solitary pursuit. You don’t have to explain your process to anyone.

    • Hi Jodi!
      I agree. I think doing other things enriches the soul as well. I’m okay with certain kinds of pressure and not others. LOL. Odd, right? But I’ve found that my best schedule is no schedule at all. Or if I keep a schedule it will inadvertently change and become something new so that I’m never doing the same thing the same day for very long. I am a definite fan of not having to explain myself to anyone.