Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Striking a balance

Achieving my daily word count is becoming a burden. It's taking over my life, leaving no time to do anything else.

I'm chained to my writing pen.

How is this about finding balance, you ask?

It's about balance because I am going to talk about it that way, that's why.

So, balance. A definition: Well, there are several. But here's the one that really matters. (It's #9 in the noun definition of balance.)

Mental and emotional steadiness.

Oxymoronic in relation to writing a novel, right? I mean, a novel is all about tugging at those heartstrings and pulling your readers through a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Or maybe it's more like switching from the roller coaster the carousel to the bumper cars and back again.

Anyways. I need to find balance.

Balance can be achieved in many ways. One of them is not a 2,000 words per day minimum pace in writing. Because that takes too many hours in the day.

I'm trying to keep this from sounding like I'm complaining. But I think it's going to come out a little bit that I'm whining.

Writing that many words a day takes time. Sometimes several hours. Usually I type up what I wrote that day and go to bed because it's taken me that long.

Blogging and platforming are taking another chunk of time. But none of it is balanced. Eventually I'm not going to have all the time in the world to write and blog. There will be other things I have to do, like go to work. (Fingers crossed.) Balance will be key in maintaining my sanity in the long process and throughout the remainder of my life.

My first two steps toward achieving balance are these:

1- I am no longer holding myself to a minimum word count or rigid schedule. Remember those authorial goals and the fial pictures? (I know it's misspelled. That's the whole point.) Yeah, no more of those. Rigid goals and deadlines are out the window.

2- Saturday goals updates (corollary to #1) are going away. As are Sunday's Author's Bookshelf posts. They both put too much pressure on me in the week and I thus don't work toward balance or enjoy the processes I'm going through.

Blogging will now be as follows: Tuesday and Thursday will be my usual thought-provoking posts that I began this blog with. Once per month Tuesday will be replaced by Tantalus Tuesday. WiP Wednesday will be there as a motivator for me to actually write during the week and make progress. Fiction Friday will likely be implemented beginning this Friday. Those posts at least for a time I can write up and have scheduled far in advance. But do keep in mind that this is subject to change at any time and for any random reason.

My hope is that in limiting myself to four days of blogging and eliminating the rigid goals and deadlines I can begin to balance my life and find enjoyment in writing and blogging again.

But if I disappear for a while, either from blogging, responding to comments, or commenting on y'all's blogs, it's because I'm losing my sanity and am perhaps locked away in the looney bin.

Semi-related in the blogosphere:
Ultimate irony @ Cake Wrecks
Balance @ my cozy book nook


  1. Keep your sanity. Blogging is not the primary goal, it's writing. I think all of us struggle with balance somewhat. Good luck with your novel.

  2. It sounds like a great plan. I need to find some balance of my own.

  3. I struggle with this, too, especially since I've started blogging. Balance is indeed the key to sanity. Maybe that's why so many of the great writers in history ended up a little crazy. Good luck with your new plan.

  4. 2k words a day? that's a tall order! You are so right on target w/ the whole balance thing. I set certain writing and blogging hours and then whatever happens in that time happens. I've found it to be a far less stressful approach and still seem to get plenty of good writing done.

  5. Sounds like a good plan. Must allow yourself time for a life.

  6. Thanks for being supportive, everyone. I feel like such a failure to be abandoning my goals and such so quickly, but they were really not reasonable for my life.

  7. Just in case you're feeling guilty about it and need someone to just tell you it's okay to take it down a notch or six:

    It's okay. You're doing what you need to do. Don't sacrifice your own mental health for writing! ...Well, unless you know for a fact the experience would make an interesting and salable book.

    Also, I don't know if you use it already, but I recently discovered that Google Reader is far more useful to me for keeping up with other blogs than the Blogger dashboard is. Putting bloggers in folders makes it so much easier for me to read the ones I really want to read without losing them among the rest.

  8. I've found that setting a word or page goal for my writing puts me in the wrong mood. It feels more like I'm meeting a deadline than being creative. So now I just make it a point to write/edit every day, even if it's just for half an hour.

    And if I have time to blog then that's great. If not, there's always tomorrow!

  9. I went through this recently as well over a 500 words a day goal I set. Then I asked myself - What's the hurry?

    So really - what's the hurry?

    Balance is a great plan. You don't want to look back on your summer of writing and remember regret and self imposed failure.

  10. I may have to try that one, Christopher.

    Thanks everyone. The support and encouragement mean a lot to me.


All content copyright of the author. Please ask permission before re-printing.

Fair use quotations and links do no require prior consent of the author.