For me writing has always been a passion, and a fulfilling part of my life. When writing crosses from passion to obsession, it can be a difficult thing to balance in your life. Though I may be consumed by my love of writing, this is not an excuse to leave my family with nothing to consume. A hot plot idea is not a good enough reason for your children to learn to use the washing machine at age five, or to do your shopping in a housecoat and fuzzy pink slippers. And no matter how handsome and sexy your hero may be, he will not appear under your covers to keep you warm at night.
Other signs that you may be over-obsessing include considering your sweat pants and a tee shirt as formal wear. Realizing you haven’t showered in three days and that is why the UPS guy rings and runs. Or thinking that five-day-old pizza heated in a microwave can be classified as gourmet fare. Obviously, these are extremes, and most of us work hard at balancing writing with the other aspects of our lives. (Though a bit of over-obsessing might get your own computer!)
Here are a few ideas I’ve practiced that were successful for others in the eternal struggle between write and wrong:
1) Set a time to write every day when it is least like to interfere with other activities and stick to it. For many, this is early or late in the day.
2) Write in short intense bursts throughout the day.
3) Always keep a pad handy to jot down brilliant ideas that can be included later.
4) Set aside time strictly for family activity, and again stick to it. We all know there can be deadlines, and other problems will be exceptions. However, keeping these times as nearly-sacred law will keep every day excuses from getting in the way.
5) Take the occasional day off from writing, and your family if need be, and do something that will help retain your sanity. Pedicures and massages will work wonders, and shopping heals many a writer-blocked heart.
6) Always take the time to thank the real heroes in your lives. Husband, children, parents, friends, the ones who put up with us and out overwhelming desire to WRITE!
Please feel free to add to this list. For those of us who write, it’s a battle we face daily. I appreciate new ideas that have worked for others. Best plan I ever had, keep the biggest hero in my life with me for another 20 years.
Enjoy your day, and your gift of writing!