Bedtime came and went an hour ago, and still I linger at the keyboard, trying to finish a scene, schedule a blog post, or push back the tidal wave of emails swamping my inbox.
Bleary-eyed and more or less successful, I finally call it a night. As I power down the computer, it occurs to me that I forgot to say goodnight to my family.The end of another day in my life as a writer leaves me vaguely unsatisfied as I make my lonely way to bed. I need to do better for my family. myself, and even my writing. Something has to give.
It doesn’t help that these days writers are producing manuscripts much like bunnies breed their progeny, or that readers want rapid delivery with a minimal wait. Your publisher, assuming you can find one, usually expects marketing to be pretty much your baby. And then there are the constant demands of the social media beast wanting to be fed.
Just thinking about all this is enough to keep a writer awake at night, without going into the stress of wondering how your proposal is faring, whether reviewers will be kind, or if your sales figures won’t embarrass you.
If you didn’t already have writer’s angst, this scenario surely is enough to give you a case.
The pressure can be all-involving, stealing your focus from lesser things, like living life. With a skewed perspective, it becomes easy to confuse priorities. Sadly, relationships often take the brunt of a writing life out of balance.
It doesn’t have to be like this. Yes, it takes strength of mind to reorder a life, but it can be done if you want improvement badly enough. I wish I could give a one-sized-fits-all solution, but we’re all so different, that’s not possible. I can give you some guidelines that have helped me, though.
- Stop trying to please others.
- Answering my calling is nobler than feeding my ambitions and makes me less vulnerable to the flattery of others who want some of my time.
- Trying to keep up with the (prolific author) Joneses is the wrong way to succeed.
Do I manage my own life perfectly? No, and again I say no. But that’s why I can write this post with passion. I can honestly say that I’m on the right road, though. I regularly take inventory and offload those things that don’t fulfill my mission. Of course, you have to know your mission in the first place to identify these.
Sometimes I allow others on overdrive to commandeer my schedule. For one reason or another, it is my choice to step up for a short time, but when doing too much turns into my normal way of life, I need to switch highways or burn out with my hands clutching the wheel.
Sometimes I have to let go to hold on.