Sunday, July 31, 2011

Finding Balance - a non-Zen approach

Someone on Kindleboards asked the general question, "Do you feel guilty when you're not writing?" "Heck no, I worked on three books this year. I deserve a break, goddammit." As my fingers flew across the keyboard, you know what happened, right? A little guilt started to creep in. Well, maybe not. Guilt isn't the appropriate description for the conflicted emotions I have, as I sit at my computer, answering emails, tweeting, playing the Sims, and reconciling sales. It's more so a nagging moment of worry that I shouldn't be doing something more productive, like working on one of three unfinished manuscripts. Like starting the manuscript that I've just finished researching in June. Why is the prospect of the blank page or time away from writing tying my belly in knots? Why can't I find the middle ground between productivity and relaxation?

I'm a masochist by nature, so I love to put burdens on myself. The burden to be all I can be (not in the US army, of course), as a person, a daughter and sister, as an employee, as a writer, a friend, you name it. If I'm not doing these things very well, waves of stomach-clenching guilt follow. "I should work harder! I should do more! I should be a better friend! I should tweet more!" I've realized all the should’s have everything to do with other people's perception of me and very little to do with how I see myself.

Over the coming months, I’m going to try to find a little balance in my life. I’m risking burnout without it. I don’t want to hate the things I love because I put some much pressure on myself to do them well. That means leaving work at work, setting allotted times for my research and writing, and making relaxation a priority. Wish me luck, as I’m sure a little guilt and self-doubt will sneak in.

For anyone who’s been successful at finding this balance that I’m seeking, would love to hear how you’re doing it.

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