I am, admittedly, not very good with balance. I usually don’t have any, which is usually the source of 98% of my stress.
I’ve been in crazy-focus mode since May, when I decided it would be a good idea to create a very rigid schedule to dictate exactly how I’d spend each remaining month of 2013.
May-August: Finish writing my book (utilizing all non-work, non-sleeping hours)
September: Query my book, study for therapy licensure exam
October: Keep querying, cram for therapy licensure exam
November: Take licensure exam, apply to MFA program, keep querying, Thanksgiving, prepare for Chile
December: 2-week trip to Chile, holidays
These are all pretty major undertakings, especially to fit around two jobs. I was often finding myself having thoughts like, “I cannot WAIT until January when I will finally have the time to watch last week’s episode of Catfish.”
I even started keeping a list of all the things I wanted to do starting in January:
- Catch up on Catfish
- Cook a meal
- Figure out what to do with the car that I haven’t driven since April
- Watch that Orange is the New Black show everyone is talking about
- Read Gone Girl
- Trip to Chicago
- Take a walk
- Have a social life again
- Marathon Glee season 4
And then August started to happen, and I started to freak out when I realized summer was ending and I had nothing to show for it. But then I opened the file where I store my revised chapters (aptly titled “Polished Like A Fucking Stone”) and realized that, indeed I did have a lot to show for my summer, it just didn’t feel that way because I’d spent it almost entirely indoors and alone.
And I just don’t think that’s the way we’re supposed to live. Plus, talk about poor planning: by the time I’ve accomplished everything on my list it will be the dead of winter in Iowa, which by its very definition means spending time indoors and alone. In my crazy brain I’d been thinking of January as the month where I’d get out and start doing things again. MY BAD.
So, for August I tried to add one more thing to my rigid schedule: finding balance.
I started saying yes to the type of things I’d spent all summer saying “no” to. I joined a community writing workshop. I danced in a flash mob.
Two weeks ago I had a bonus 3-day weekend, which I’d forever been planning to use as a chance to do nothing but write. But instead I ended up: canoeing, painting my nails, reading Nic’s book, cooking dinner, and watching Orange is the New Black with a friend. AND writing.
And you know what’s weird?
It actually ended up being one of the more productive writing weekends I’d had in a while, despite all the other things I did.
Which reminded me of a Stephen King quote:
“In truth, I’ve found that any day’s routine interruptions and distractions don’t much hurt a work in progress and may actually help it in some ways. It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not the pearl-making seminars with other oysters.”
Touche, Stephen. Touche.
To accomplish any major undertaking, it does certainly take commitment, determination, and sacrifice.
But also? It takes balance, which can only come from a willingness to frequently stray from the schedule. I will try to be better at remembering this.
I leave you with my flash mob.
Two questions re: the flash mob link. 1) why is it that the male-female ratio is exactly the opposite of those who built the Alaska pipeline? 2) where among these highly talented performers are you, assuming you were flashmobbing and not filming?
The ‘Father’ part of me says “pass the licensure, dang it!” – it will put bread in your mouth.
The ‘Godfather’ part of me says “forget Catfish – focus on DUCK DYNASTY reruns” – no doubt that will help passing the licensure as well 🙂
Love the post, but had to tell you that you were in my good friend Melinda’s flashmob! I can’t wait to tell her I know one of the participants. 🙂 She’ll be thrilled because she loves flashmobs and probably thinks this means I’ll be in the next one she organizes.
That’s so funny! Iowa is such a small place. You should do one with me sometime!
One thing I know about you is that you get your energy from being around other people!
Please keep thoniwrg these posts up they help tons.
Finding that balance is absolutely one of the hardest things. I can never find that balance; the balance has to find me.
1) is your mom being sarcastic? do people like that really exist? are you one of them? Other people make me very very tired.
2) Did I actually read a book before you?!?! Read Gone Girl immediately. And then discuss it with me. I have opinions. Then read her other book Dark Places. I also want to discuss that one. Also, finish Orange is the New Black. I have more opinions on that too.
3) For me, the balance issue stems from the fact I’m a very black/white person. No room for grey. Therefore, if i let in distractions, I have to write it off as a “non-working” day. However, if i stare at my work for hours on end, accomplishing nothing though, I get to count it as a “good job work day”.
Hahaha to number one. People both excite me and wear me out. I’m in both camps.
I ordered Gone Girl and am excited to read it but… it was delivered to the post office and that’s really inconvenient. It’s been waiting for me there for over a week. But, like, they’re only open during work hours. I hate when those Amazon sellers package reasonably sized books that would easily fit into my mailbox into enormous packaging that has to be stored at the post office.
But anyway. I’m making slow progress on Orange is the New Black!
I am hoping to get my Healthcare Reimbursement ciicefrtate so my interaction with patients would be very different from a CMA, but I think I would like to work in a Chiropractors office. I have back issues and know first hand how much of an improvement I feel after one adjustment. To be part of a team, where you were able to help someone, in a fairly short period of time, seems like it would also be very rewarding.
Yup, that’ll do it. You have my appreciation.
Ah yes, nicely put, everyone.
Phenomenal breakdown of the topic, you should write for me too!
Now I know who the brainy one is, I’ll keep looking for your posts.
Love this. Great job dancing! I think I saw you in sun-glasses? 🙂
Yes! Good eye! I miss you!
Learning a ton from these neat areitlcs.
I couldn’t agree more about this whole post. I was the WORST (as I’m sure you remember) during those final revisions on my books… shutting the entire world off and whatnot. I think balance is even more essential during the querying process, too! So I’m glad you have come to this revelation now, before officially starting! Also? That Stephen King quote is #everything.
I’m pretty sure that by the time I start querying I won’t be doing anything else besides sticking my head between my knees, rocking back and forth on the bathroom floor, and moaning in agony.
There are lots of ways to solve the problem of senoaasl resourcing demand. It really depend on how the business leaders are trying to improve their business. One cannot say that because there is senoaasl demand so maximum work hours will not work. The firm I’m working in utilises the fact that the peak demand around the world being different at different countries and offer swap arrangements to solve this problem. There are ways! As long as the business leaders kept being innovative about their business there is a way out.
Thanks for reminding me that it’s OK, no it’s imperative, to have fun, to be with people, to enjoy everything. I feel so bound to my obligations but what brings me joy is being with friends, family, and then writing. Good for you for finding your balance, for helping me seek mine.
Thanks also for visiting my blog.
I find that these things are especially difficult to balance as a writer. It’s hard. It will probably be a constant struggle. But if we never had fun, we’d never have anything to write about 🙂
That is an excellent quote. Helps me justify my life which seems like one big interrupted thought sometimes. I like this way of looking at it much better.
Glad you like it! Keeping that quote in mind has helped me out HUGELY.