The balance between real-life and writing.

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I have been less than perfect in my day job this week and simultaneously stifled and unable to write in any downtime. Not that there’s been a lot of that….. I’ve clocked up sixty hours this week. – I am not going to throw a pity party about it, that was yesterdays post!

So how do you manage the demands on your time when you are struggling to finish your novel and trying to hold down an intense job that pays the mortgage?

It’s tough and it’s not a subject that gets covered in a positive way by a lot of the advice blogs you read. I think the usual general gist of it is to –  suck it up…. It’s just the journey of being a writer – Blah, Blah.

I’ve seen strategies and spreadsheets. Advice that tells you to get up half an hour earlier. To try harder because you are obviously not utilising your time properly.

Helpful eh?

I think you need to show balance and when you find yourself short on time, focus on the things that count. Sometimes there is stuff more important than writing or building a platform or engaging in social media or anything like that.

How long have you had this dream for? If you are anything like me, it is decades now. Is it going anywhere? – Nope, it’s here to stay. So don’t sweat it and don’t give the inner demons a chance to wheedle their way in. Because once they start they won’t stop and if you let them get a horn in the door of your mind they’re likely to convince you to quit…. AGAIN.

So cut YOURSELF some slack, you are not procrastinating, hey it would be lovely to have the time to procrastinate.

There are probably people in your life and they deserve your love and undivided attention, too. That Novel is not gonna let you warm your feet on them on a cold winters night and they deserve better. They know it’s important to you, they put up with being a writers widow/er so give them some valuable time.

You will come back to the writing, tomorrow or the next day because you gave yourself some room to let it settle. You placed things in the right order of importance. You cut yourself some slack.

It’s only when we force it that the inner demons get into their stride or we end up thinking about what has to give… Something always has too eventually. So stop beating yourself up about it and go hug a husband or spouse or family member or even a little person.

Comments, as always, welcome.

18 thoughts on “The balance between real-life and writing.

  1. I think in the long run it pays of to be more disciplined than writing obsessively. Been there, done that. At the end of the day, you’ll only have fewer friends, lots of empty coffee mugs, and a headache. Better to take it slow.

  2. My issue with the standard advice is it is seldom given with context.

    When I first started writing frequently there was time I was not using well: for example, I would clean one bathroom completely then start the other rather than swapping to the other while waiting for something to work/dry; so there is often some slack in the schedule when at the very start. However, after a few months the inefficiencies and “just one more game of Minesweeper” are gone, so compacting your time starts to become a goal in an of itself, leaving you spending time schedule tweaking instead of writing.

    Getting up earlier has never worked for me: I either stop earlier as well, which gives me nothing, or work longer for a few days then suffer one or two days when I am not really achieving anything. So, it might work for people who are spending longer than they need in bed, but I save it for when I want a quick surge to meet a target.

    I have found the way around the inner critic moaning about time away from writing is currently to count relaxation as planning and idea gathering: if I trip to a cafe to sit in the sun with my wife is also a deep background project on how a cafe is on a sunny day then it is not guilt ridden.

  3. I have noticed I am a little light in the creative well of late–this helps me feel okay about that. Discipline? I wish I DIDN’T get up and write every day, sometimes!! (not really–I mean editing, hoh hoh)

    Sounds like you’re bustin’ butt! Hope you get respite soon–your posts are always so readable. 🙂

  4. I’ve recently started a new job, and it’s been a big transition working longer hours in an office setting. As such, my writing has suffered, but I’m not beating myself up over it. I’m now going to start working from home, which will give me more flexibility to write during down times. It’s definitely a balance, and sometimes it works your way, sometimes it doesn’t.

    • Ah, the new job, that’s rough hopefully the book will do so well you won’t have to for much longer. Unless, it’s something you want to do and then go for it. Just make sure in the WFH scenario, you don’t isolate yourself too much……. 🙂 I send that comment from a good place.

  5. I hate the quit whining and suck it up attitude. Sometimes it is necessary and needed, but it has become one of those thoughtlessly repeated pieces of advice. I’m the type of person who will burn themselves out, so balance is something I have to watch out for. Getting up earlier is not an answer unless you’re spending ten hours in bed. Staying up later is likewise not an answer. Isolating yourself is not an answer. I feel sorry for the people who are convinced that it is. Sorry to rant, but that stuff really strikes a nerve with me.
    I just deleted more ranting… lol. What I really am trying to say is: Good on you for posting this and don’t let anyone convince you that it isn’t true. There are far more important things in life. That’s why you’re working that day-job in the first place…

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