I am a fairly clumsy person, so balance is a double-edged sword for me! Despite my abiding love of running, I do occasionally trip over thin air, invisible dogs, and score marks in the sidewalk.
But, of course, that isn’t the balance I’m referring to in my title above. I’m talking about that work/life/family balance that we all strive to achieve.
It’s probably the greatest challenge most of us face, especially in working for ourselves, as writers do. How can we be fully present in each moment for the focus of that moment? When the day is winding down, how can we shift gears out of the plot (or curriculum, or marketing, as the case may be) and bring ourselves home – mentally and emotionally – for our families. And, let’s face it, for ourselves, because no one wants to miss out on the moments that pass way too quickly.
I can’t swear to what would work in every situation, but only in what I’m learning to do for myself.
In many cases, having a routine (or a writing ritual) can be immensely helpful. But that routine encompasses more than the work.
- Time to bed and time to wake, because otherwise those stories will keep you up at night. Or, your nerves will. Sleep hygiene is a good first step there.
- Exercise! For the love of God, find some movement you enjoy and can continue to do. I swear my brain would be dying if I didn’t run or swim in the mornings.
- Write your daily task lists. Enjoy crossing things off the list as you accomplish them.
- Set times. In my Dad’s classes, he tells people that they need to calendar their time off BEFORE anything else, otherwise they will never stop working. Set an hour after which you stop, or a day each week where you unplug. Something. Anything that involves a step out of your head and into your daily life.
- Incorporate your loved ones into your work life (if possible) or your exercise. It doesn’t hurt children to be included in work or working out. It’s a different way for them to spend time with you, and gives them a chance to a) understand what you do when you’re working, and/or b) realize that when you say you’re running 5 miles you’re maybe just a *tiny* bit crazy. 😉
- HAVE FUN! Guys, life is so much shorter than we think it is. Live it up. Have fun with each other.
By now, you’re probably thinking, “yeah, okay, Caroline. Quit harping.”
Not harping – just a reminder, since it’s all too easy to forget that balance.
Writer life – an insane attempt at juggling, while standing on one foot, and singing the national anthem.
Happy Monday, and blessings to you all!