Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Finding Balance

Technique Tuesday

Sandra Tayler, speaking at the 2011 Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE) conference, addressed the perennial question of finding balance. She said you can balance your life by paying attention (as in at least 10 minutes a day) to the five things that are most important to you.

I've amplified Sandra's five things to illustrate the technique.

Source of Inspiration

The word inspire comes from Latin root that mean, "to breath into." Many creation stories have God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Amorphous Essence of the Universe breathing life into creation.

What is it that breaths life into your writing, your work, and your very existence?

What fills you with joy in being?

Whatever it may be, take time each day to reconnect with your source of inspiration.

Important Relationships

For good or ill, humans are social animals. Much of our sense of who we are is a function of those with whom we are close. Put another way, much of what we do is motivated by the people with whom we have the most important relationships. Some have pursued their art at the expense of those relationships and wound up with no one to share it with when they won the prize.

Take time each day to acknowledge and nurture your important relationships. Not only will you have more support right now, you'll likely have someone to appreciate it when you succeed.

Health and Welfare

As Count Rugen, in the Princess Bride, says, "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."

Take time to take care of yourself.


As I mentioned in the note about making time, if you are serious about writing it should have a high priority. While writing every day is an important habit, the point here is that you ought to do something related to writing each day to keep in touch with your passion.

"Something only I care about."

Sherry Wachter, writing on The Blood Red Pencil, talked about the importance of a room of one's own. That is, how having a project of your own makes it easier to compromise when you're working on someone else's project. Taking time each day to do something only you care about is essential if you don't want to lose track of yourself amid all the demands placed upon you.
Balance = The Things that Matter

You can think of this as the plate-spinner approach to personal balance. Like the performer who runs back and forth spinning up the plates that are slowing down, taking time each day to at least touch the five most important things in your life will go a long way to helping you find balance.

And don't think of it as balancing your life. The job of balancing an entire life is overwhelming. Sandra Tayler said, "Balance the day and the year will take care of itself."

Mary DeMuth, in a guest post on agent Rachelle Gardener's Rants and Ramblings blog, offers additional thoughts on finding balance with her three goals for writers.

Image: luigi diamanti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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