Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BALANCE: How do YOU do it?

I'm back to posting after being away most of May. If I said I'm rejuvenated and ready to jump in that would be, um, not right. I've had to catch up on so many blogs and emails. Piles and piles.

I've read a few articles and blogs lately about social networking and its takeover. One article said that all the energy and brain power you put into posting on blogs, email lists, Facebook, and whatever takes away from the energy and brain power a writer needs for writing. I think it does remove focus, or at least fragment it, scatter it.

Does reading blogs and posts keep you from writing? Does writing them do it? Is there a good way to balance these things?

Once a writer is published, it's imperative that he/she promote. The time spent promoting is time NOT spent writing, but--hey--you have to do it. (Although someone recently blogged about the lack of connection between promotion and sales. But the blogger does admit you have to do it, even if there's no correlation. I thought this was Tess Gerritsen, but I can't find it on her blog.)

Should one spend an hour or two networking every day, or should one set aside a day of the week for it? I know what one shouldn't do--one shouldn't keep one's email program open all the time and click over there to see what's come in every few minutes. I've tried that and it doesn't work well. I wish someone had a wise solution!


  1. I think putting in an hour or two a day and then closing your browser so you don't check your email constantly is best. And every so often, we do all burn out, do stupid things because we are exhausted trying to keep up with blogging, management, writing, and then of course there is real life!

  2. I think in order to balance your life you have to know what elements you're trying to balance. If we throw our energy in one direction, e.g. writing, that's not any more useful than jumping from task to task. I think the key is to take into consideration what we feel we need to get done and set aside the time for each. That means getting organized and setting aside the time to GET organized. Otherwise we expend a lot of energy and accomplish nothing--something I'm very good at! It's work, but at least it's work that makes progress!

  3. I wonder about this, too. Part of my problem is I schedule too much into the day and end up accomplishing nothing. I don't think there's a magic answer. Different things work for me on different days. I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to time.

  4. Real live, E.B.? What on earth is that? :) Yes, closing the browser is an excellent idea. I should do that regularly.

    Susan, organizing is a key, isn't it? I guess to organize, I'd have to prioritize and decide how much time to spend on what.

    Carol, I have days where I think I'm humming along, others where I bog down and get nothing done! Too many of the latter lately.

  5. I agree with setting up what you need to get done. I go in spurts. When I'm writing I zone out. Sometimes I'm more actively pursuing. One thing or another, but I'm following your investigation and I'm reassesing my balance.

  6. Thanks for the answers, everyone! Time to organize and prioritize. We can do it!

  7. Hi Kaye,

    Realizing that what is balanced for me may be insanity for you, or vice versa, I'll risk sharing my opinion.

    For me, the heart of balance comes down to prioritization. What do I want to be, a writer of books or of blogs?

    For me the answer is books, so that means book writing goes in my primo slot for the day. I set word count goals each week, but because of my part-time jobs, my writing schedule is actually compressed, so I know when I'm on track and when I'm not.

    There's a strong pull to flip over to email or check out your three best friends' blogs when the words aren't coming. Don't do it, not until the book writing goal for the day is met. Then layer in the social networking around the rest of your responsibilities.

    Plan for success, but realize life happens and you're doing your best. We all get behind when we travel. Plan ahead and temporarily turn off some of the notifications you receive.

    Fellow GUPPY,

    Maggie Toussaint

  8. What E.B. wrote is very practical. Have to agree.

    I also agree that writing is writing & it always helps to have an outlet, especially a blog so you can get some quick feedback when it's needed.