Posts Tagged ‘prioritizing’

Don’t Forget to Breathe

As much as I love writing, it’s not my entire life.  I think, in order to be successful at anything, especially writing, you have to be involved in other things as well.  You have to remember to give yourself a chance to breathe.  And this weekend, I did just that.

Last night, I went out with my wife and our friends for some drinks, some dancing and some late-night IHOP.  Ironically, I don’t think anyone had pancakes.  This afternoon, taking advantage of a rare November Sunday afternoon in the mid-70s, Ashley and I went hiking with my parents.  I didn’t feel the slightest bit ashamed, either last night, or today, about losing out on time that could potentially have been used to pad my word count.  I talked about writing, and I thought about writing, and I even came up with a great premise for a fun short story I hope to write when my novel is finished, but I didn’t write.  I didn’t work.

I still wrote this weekend, at other times, and I was even moderately prolific today, finishing another 2,500 words, with the intent to close the gap between what I’ve done so far and twenty-thousand before I get to sleep tonight.  Taking time out to enjoy the rest of my life, however, helps me to keep perspective on what I’m doing.  Should I, in the future, earn the privilege of being a full-time writer, I know that it’s going to be important to me to continue doing the other things in my life I enjoy.

Writers spend a lot of their time at home, and it can be easy to blur the line between working on your novel and time you should be spending with your family or just plain relaxing.  It’s a good idea to maintain separation between the two halves of your life. In fact, it’s crucial.  I’m teaching myself not to feel guilty about the time I spend not writing, while at the same time making sure that I do spend some time every day with my novel.  The draw to write is fairly strong though, and I don’t think I could stay away very long, even if I wanted to.

And so far, I think it’s all working out pretty well.  Balance is key to a life as a successful writer, to a life as a successful anything for that matter.  One thing that spending so much time writing has taught me, too, is that I have to decide which other activities are most important.  In the middle of my rough draft, for example, I am still working out every day, and still watching some television and cooking dinner with my wife.  I still try to read, too, at least some every chance I get.  I’m not spending a lot of time playing video games right now, and I spend less time in front of the television than I was.

I think that adding this one extra activity to my life has forced me to make choices and decisions that I wasn’t making.  I can tell that choosing to write this novel has already started to have an impact on the kind of person I’m choosing to be.

And to be very honest with you: I kind of like it.