The Writing Life: A Super Balancing Act

I’ll let you in on a little secretI’m a tad imbalanced. My family might use the word ‘super stressed’, my husband, at times, ‘super crazy’. It’s okay, because I know they love me, and it’s true, I do have a tendency to take things on…in excess. I used to attribute it to the expectation that modern women have superhuman abilities to scale relationships, home, health, career, and all their future hopes and dreams in a single bound, but that’s a cop out. The world has figured out we’re mere mortals, and I’m fairly certain I’ve got my priorities and goals straight most of the time. I’ve come to realize it’s more about me wanting to feel in control. I want to manage all my needs and wants with those superhuman powers. I want to do it all, and I want it done now (or, better yet, yesterday).

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom/
Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom/

I think a lot of writers may secretly be like this. They’ll try to crank out the first draft of a novel with the speed of a silver bullet. They’ll read a seven-book series in as many days. They’ll manage their day job like a star reporter at the Daily Planet, and still make time for their secret (writing) identity. They’ll devote themselves to the needs of their family, friends, and home with the efficiency of an evil genius plotting the destruction of Metropolis (but with better intent, I hope). They’ll pretty much do anything they put their mind to, as long as they focus on it maniacally. As in…like a maniac.

Hey, at least we give it our all, right?

Image courtesy of Elwood W. McKay III/
Image courtesy of Elwood W. McKay III/

I’ll keep telling myself that. Meanwhile, failure to achieve balance among the important things in life can become our own personal kryptonite.

Are those of us plagued with this plight destined to live lives of extremes, or will we ever find a nicely balanced, happily-ever-after?

As I think about this, Colossians 3:23-24 comes to mind: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” 

I wonder, if I stop and remind myself why I’m doing something, will it help me be more selective? If I’d focus on doing some of the same things, but for the right reasons…not for my own vanity or because I feel pressured into it, not because I fear stopping will keep me from ever starting again, not because I’m told it’s what successful people do, and not because it’s supposed to define who I am, would I be more present in the moment? Would there be more joy in the work I undertake? Would I be a happier person overall?

Just maybe it will help me keep the bigger, digitally formatted, wide-screen, blockbuster motion picture in mind. And that, to me, is more powerful than a locomotive.

What about you? How do you stay balanced when you start to feel overwhelmed by the commitment you make as a writer?

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