(Sorry, since I have ArmadilloCon this week there won't be a movie review. Instead, I give you...)
I read a post last week by Nathan Bransford called 10 Commandments for a Happy Writer. (If you've yet to read it GO NOW! This can apply to more than just writer types. :P) And while I pondered away at the awesome wisdom in this list, I realized something else that is needed to be a Happy Writer - Balance.
Writers have to wear many hats. We're authors first, but we've no choice but to also be marketing gurus, website experts, social media moguls, public speakers, and more.
For authors who have the luxury of being able to write full time, juggling these things is a little easier than for those who have to work to make the money to sustain them so they can write. And if either kind have spouses or children... It can be very frustrating to read about all the things we should be doing to get our websites noticed, how we must blog multiple times a week, read other blogs and comment on them, build a brand by interacting with others on Facebook and Twitter, let alone the writing and editing, doing query letters, synopsis, hobnobbing at conventions and all the other myriad things we need to do to get out there and be noticed.
It can very overwhelming. It can also be extremely frustrating. We want to succeed but we also want to spend time with family, have time to relax, make time to enjoy some of life while we can.
This leads to an unending struggle to come to some sort of balance. And we must! We can't do it all. Yes, sacrifices must be made, but sacrificing all is not healthy, and not sacrificing won't get us anywhere. And they won't make anyone happy. As Word Warriors we must pick our battles. Weed out what we can and can't do with regards to all the advice and wisdom we find out there. We must make things work for each of our unique circumstances as best we're able and reach a middle ground.
If internet use is allowed at work, then you can occasionally peek at what's going on in Twitter/FB/Google + and comment here and there. If not, set a half hour or an hour in the evening to see what everyone's up to or leave it as something to do on the weekends. Can't do three blog posts a week? Or don't think you have topics? Think outside the box. What you do for pleasure you might be able to share, like book reviews, photos, jokes, mashups. Blog posts don't have to be long, but please make sure they have substance.
Need time to write? How about shifting your schedule slightly so you get to work early and can type away for a half hour or more. Take part of your lunch hour to write. Or maybe even go to bed a little later, after the kids have gone to bed.
Have trouble producing? Set small goals and also rewards for reaching those goals. If I write for a half hour I get to read for a half hour.
In the end you might not be 100% satisfied with what you can do (I know I'm not), but it's better than doing nothing. Every little bit helps. And your family will get to see you and do activities with you, which will make it easier for them to respect when you do write. Being a writer is a lot of work! But a little balance in your life, can definitely go a long way toward achieving your dreams.
What tricks do you use to balance your life?