A good thing about a big writing related push is I get to let household chores slide. :-) My husband understands, helps out, but even he, a man with a servant's heart, has limits. Ironing is one of them. Last fall while I tackled that teetering basket of wrinkled clothes, I called an out-of-town friend who’d recently had a heart attack. She sounded great, just like always. When she listed the lifestyle changes she’d made, I knew she’d had a wake-up call.
After we hung up, I thought how we never know what tomorrow, or even today, will bring. My friend’s heart attack reminded me each day is precious. I'm blessed to write inspirational novels and hope what I write will help readers in some way. One thing I'm certain of—the writing has helped me. It’s enriched my life, brought me wonderful friends, given me satisfaction, and yes, added stress and pressure, too. Nothing good comes without a price.
When putting words on paper vies for time with those I love, including God, and writing wins way too often, then others may be paying that price for me. One of those others just may be me. Even without a day job or children at home, I'd felt frazzled more often than not. Not healthy. Perhaps you feel the same. How can we find a balance between the writing and the living? I wish I knew.
But I have discovered a few things that help. I’ve learned to:
Start my day with devotions.
Squeeze in exercise 3-5 times weekly.
Set up the chance for a good night’s sleep by avoiding the light and stimulation of the computer an hour before bed.
Multi-task when I can.
Give up or put time limits on non-essentials. I watch the clock or set a timer when doing e-mail.
Protect my writing time by not answering the phone or getting sidetracked with household chores.
Set aside time for others and for myself. And then revel in it. Time for me may be a leisurely bath or reading in bed.
When I have more on my plate than I can stomach, I try to remember something I read: The difference between feeling pressured and feeling relaxed depends on my attitude—not on how much I have to do.
If attitude is important when handling time pressures, it’s vital in managing emotions. As writers we deal with the harsh realities of this business: low contest scores, rejections, and poor sales, just to name a few. When we attempt something big, we're bound to fail. I don’t want to let the negatives drain the joy out of my precious, not-to-be-wasted days.
To foster a positive attitude I’ve learned:
I’m a failure only when I don’t try.
God loves me. My family loves me. I will love me and stop beating myself up.
To stay connected with other writers. Seekerville is a great place to live. :-)
To look for good in the bad. It’s always there.
I try to turn things over to God. He’s got the power and wider shoulders than I do.
Getting the right balance with our time and with our emotions isn’t easy and I never get it right. But when I take a daily heart check, asking for God’s wisdom on setting my priorities and His strength on controlling my outlook, I’m well on my way.
Any ideas you care to share for holding it together?