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Living Out of Balance

Cheryl's Musings: Living Out of Balance

Cheryl's Musings

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road


Living Out of Balance

Thought for the day: Should a "balanced life" really be the writer's goal?

This is, after all, commonly accepted wisdom. Seek balance in all things, yada yada yada. And yet, I gotta wonder.

Here's the thing: I get the most writing done, the most passionate and real writing done, when I'm totally out of balance. If I tried to balance my writing life with the rest of life, I'd write three or four hours a day and spend the rest on all those important tasks that expand to fill any and all available time. But when I treat writing like a love affair, when I let it consume me...well, the laundry suffers, but the stories unfold.

I guess I'm an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I guess that's why I ask weird questions, like whether I should spend time blogging or reading blogs or reading the news or paying the bills. I guess that's why my answers to those questions change week to week (or, sometimes, day to day!)

This isn't a permanent lifestyle, of course. I do, eventually, have to do the laundry, walk the dogs, and even exercise. And certain priorities (read: kids, husband, and dogs, not necessarily in that order) can't stand much neglect. Heck, even I can't stand much neglect. If I don't spend a minimal amount of my time taking care of myself, then I lose my ability to function in all those other important areas.
Sometimes, I think every writer can use a bit of all-or-nothing focus. It's a great tool for making leaps-and-bounds forward progress on a particular piece--or for getting past a writing hump--or just for answering a particular writing question. Or maybe the occasional--or even frequent--bit of excess is part of balance! Who knows?

I say, if a bit of excess or imbalance helps move your forward, go for it.

:) Cheryl

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At November 25, 2008 at 6:46 PM , Blogger MotherReader said...

I don't know that balance needs to mean by day, or even by week. I'm not even sure if it carries over to month.

For me, I try to find balance in a flexible scheme, knowing that sometimes it is within a day, a week, or even a month. Even more broadly, I can see balance in my life over years - where some years are more devoted to family needs, and other years I'll have more time.

The word itself implies something that isn't finally reached, but something that is continually strived for.

At November 26, 2008 at 8:13 AM , Blogger Cheryl Reif said...

Good points. Balance is a good thing to keep in mind day-to-day (or month-to-month) because getting too FAR out of balance in some life areas can cause major lashback.

Right now in my writing life, I feel that my balance is shifting more and more toward writing...which is wonderful, except that I need to find some other areas where I can pull back (or learn to go without sleep!) Luckily, I long ago decided that yardwork, laundry, and home decorating were allowed to get short-changed so I could spend my time on more important things.

If I think of life in the long-term, as you suggest, a more balanced picture begins to emerge. So maybe I live a balanced life after all--eventually! ~C


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