Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Balancing Act (or "How To Write and Promote and Still Have a Life")

It feels like forever since I checked in here (What? It's only been a few days? Weird.) because of all the whirlwind activity on another certain blog I am a part of *cough* *cough* fromthemixedupfilesgoseetheawesomenessnow *cough*.

But I have to admit that I haven't been very sociable in person lately. My husband thinks I've left him to pursue a relationship with my computer, my kids have wondered why they must eat hot dogs AGAIN for dinner, and my neighbors think I must have some strange sun disease or lice or something.

And I hate to admit it, but my dear little WIP is languishing in a file somewhere, crying pitiably because of the lack of attention it's getting as well.

It looks like I need to give myself the Balancing Act Pep-talk again.

I figured you might want to listen in, too. Feel free to insert your own name/info where applicable:

Now, listen up, you! I know it's not easy finding time to write, promote your book/blog/website/whatever, spend time with family, and shower, but there needs to be a balance here. You don't HAVE to check your email 57 times each day. You also don't HAVE to chuck your laptop into the nearest canal. FIND A BALANCE, for crying out loud!

But you can do this! You are a smart and capable person. It just takes a little know-how, a little willpower, and a whole lot of buttered popcorn. Now get to it, you!

Wasn't that inspirational?! It usually does the trick for me.

What's that? You need a little more information? Well, I guess you did miss the very first pep-talk I gave myself, where I explained the know-how and the willpower part. (The buttered popcorn part is completely self-explanatory, imo.)

Well, here you go.


There are just a few simple steps you need to help you with your balancing act.

1. Pay attention.

I don't know about you, but I tend to run on autopilot a lot. That means I can waste an entire day on my computer and not realize I've done so. But being aware of how you spend your time is the first step to getting your life back in balance. If I pay attention to what I'm doing and how long I've been doing it, I get a feel for where I'm out of balance and what changes I need to make. More of this, less of that. Sometimes I do an official mental inventory, but usually for me it's informal impressions. You might be more list-oriented than I am, so logging one day on paper might be a good strategy for you.

2. Simply make the decision.

Being aware of how your time is spent is helpful, but it's a passive thing. Action is required for change. You know, Balancing ACT. No where have I said Balancing State of Being. Luckily, the next step simply requires you to make the decision to find that balance again. If you've been paying attention, you should have a pretty good idea what changes you need to make, so this step is pretty easy. Most people recommend you write it out. You can if you want, but that's up to you. The point here is to simply make the decision.

3. Follow through.

This is where I tend to slip up the most. Following through is really hard. Twice today, for example, I decided to turn off my computer and stop wasting time checking for comments on the blog, or messages from blog members, or an email from my agent about my manuscript submission. But did I? I'm still here, aren't I?

So you need to be on the ball. Once you decide to turn off the computer, for example, do it. Before you change your mind. But you also need a plan of what you will do instead. If not, for example, soon you'll find yourself sitting back down and flipping on the switch again (I'm guilty of that one a lot). Part of that "make the decision" step was to decide what to cut out and what to replace it with, in order to get your life back in balance.


It's a known fact that the more willpower you have, the more successful you'll be. (Okay. That's not true. I totally made that up. Sounds good, though, doesn't it?!) In all honestly, we already covered WILLPOWER in step 3 above. I just wanted to remind you that you have to follow through if you ever plan on finding that balance. Sorry. I wish it weren't so, but it is.

Now, where's that bag of buttered popcorn? I swear it was around here somewhere...


  1. Oh, I am really needing this discussion right now. Although in reality, I'm paying attention to what I should right now--it just happens to not be writing or blogging (or tweeting for that matter)! The end of the year family stuff is sucking me in and spitting me out. But I feel bad as blogging things go by the wayside... It would be great to have complete balance all the time, but there is always something that is taking up more of my time! I'm really enjoying From the Mixed Up Files, btw! Thanks for that!

  2. Heather-This time of year is terrible for balancing things, isn't it? I've been dealing with both the group blog and my kids' baseball games (oy, remind me never to let all four play at the same time again), plus end-of-the-school-year stuff and everything else.

    I'm glad to hear you're doing what you should, though. I should be more like you.

    (And I'm so glad you're enjoying From the Mixed-Up Files!)