Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Too Much on Your Plate? Here's One Solution. By Kayelle Allen #amwriting #balance

Balance isn't easy. 
I've known for years that I work too hard, and I've tried to remedy that by being more organized. Now, that's a good goal up to a point. People who know me already think I'm the organization queen. The painful truth is that it's not a matter of being organized. No matter how well organized you are, you can only cram so much into one twenty-four hour period. Nobody gets an extra hour in their day. We get twenty-four. No more. No less.
If I can't wangle more time, and I'm already organized, what can I do? How can I handle having so much on my plate? The remedy is simple. I need to get a smaller plate. I need to drop back and do less.
Before you roll your eyes, hear me out.
I'm a writer, and if I'm not writing, then what does that make me? So I will be doing more writing. Plus I need to think of my health. When I first started writing I took pride in the fact that I worked twice as much as anyone else. A couple of health crises later, I've decided working smarter is better. Hey, I said I was organized, not bright. *smile*
How to cut back? What can I give up without giving up too much?
First, I looked at what's important in my life. For me it's family, health, survival, and writing. They don't always come in that order. Sometimes survival is at the top. Other days it's family. Writing always hovers around the top as well. Those four things are the most important things in my life, so I want to make time for them.
That means other things get shuffled around to fit.
I'm not only a writer. I'm also a businesswoman. I own The Author'sSecret, which supports other authors. We're getting ready to update our website, launch two new services (book trailers and editing) and I have been hiring and researching and promoting like a madwoman. Since the business is part of the way I survive, it ranks high on my importance scale.
Writing is my main career, and it gets a huge focus as well. I joined a local critique group last year, and that handful of people meet with me twice a week. They've become vital parts of my writing life. That group gets a chunk of my time, and gives it back. The group is also high on that scale.
What's not high are things like watching TV, movies, and playing on the internet. I don't chat much, except when it comes to my critique group and author chats, or hangouts with readers and the like. So I have organized my TV watching. I know what I'll see on certain nights of the week. I like to check in with the Today Show in the morning and find out what's new in the world, at least for thirty minutes. I read extensively, because that's part of how I hone my writing skills. If I don't study my craft and competition, how good can I be?
I've added exercise, and am now walking on a regular basis. That will help my heart and keep my blood sugar where it needs to be.
Let me leave you with an image I think will help, beyond "thinking" about getting a "smaller plate."

Watch this video of one of the Wallenda family members, a tight-rope walker, high above the Grand Canyon. He's carrying a balance beam, which helps him gain equilibrium. I'd like you to notice one thing about that beam. It's in motion, changing angles, adapting to the shifting weight of the athlete carrying it. More to the point, the athlete is the one moving it, changing it. Constantly. There is no way to achieve balance without change.
I wish I could give you a three-step solution, or a checklist of things to do to obtain that balance we all strive to reach. But I can tell you the solution I found. I recognized that I didn't have balance in my life. My next step was to decide what I was going to change in order to get it. Balance is not something you achieve and forget. It's a constantly changing thing.

Share what you think will help you gain balance in the comments below. If this post helped you, feel free to share it on your social media.
Kayelle Allen is the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. She is a multi-published, award-winning author, and the owner of The Author's Secret, an author support company. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary characters, futuristic immortals, covert agents, and warriors who purr.
Unstoppable Heroes Blog http://kayelleallen.com/blog

The Author's Secret https://theauthorssecret.com


Tina Donahue said...

Very helpful post, Kayelle. I tend to spin like a top at times, trying to do to much. My best solution is to take a day off, unwind, regroup. That usually helps. :)

Tina Donahue said...

I meant too much - it's early. :)

Lizzie said...

Excellent tips, Kayelle!

Fiona McGier said...

Since I have to work 2 other jobs in addition to my writing, I get to my emails and keep up with my groups every day, but writing has to wait until I can stay awake long enough to do it. I do spend time whenever not actively engaged with other people, working through plot points and planning scenes. That way when I do get time to write, it's pretty much already "written" inside my head.

Oh, and I have 4 kids and a husband who also like some of my time. And a core group of girlfriends, all from different stages of my life, with whom I stay connected with regular lunches/dinners out.

When my kids were in grade school, the local president of the PTA once asked for volunteers at a meeting, immediately turning to me and calling out by name that I should sit on my hands, because I was always the first to step up. I really believe that when you need things done, ask the busiest person you know, because that way it WILL get done. Busy people are those who pride themselves on keeping up with all facets of their lives. Yes, sometimes health issues intrude and knock them down for a while. But they always get back up and hop onto the treadmill again.

BTW, I gave up TV about 6 years ago, when I became a published author. Other than occasional watching of DVDs with the family for pizza night, I don't have the patience to sit still for that long. And when I do, I'll work on crocheting afghans for everyone I know. Even when I'm relaxing, I keep busy.

Kayelle Allen said...

I thought I'd be preaching to the choir here. :) Fiona, that's true about asking a busy person for help. They'll find ways to get it done. I think it's half work ethic and half energy. The other half is being crazy enough to say yes. (And yeah, I can count... ) LOL

jean hart stewart said...

It's a constant decision making time. Being a true writer means a lot of stuff has to go. But please, don't leave a cat about to jump out the window!

Kayelle Allen said...

Unless that cat is in the cliffhanger ending chapter four, and you then rescue him in chapter five! =^_^=