A short while ago, I had the rarified opportunity to meet with a fellow writer, and pick her brain. I have been sitting on a blog for months now knowing how important it was to platform if I am ever to be recognized by literary agents. What a can of worms I had opened. The blog has set nearly idle for months while I have struggled with what I should do next. My writer friend, and the infinitely talented Jenna Willett of Jen’s Pen Den was a wealth of information, and just the kick in the pants I needed to get my butt in gear.
Before I go further, I want to give a big shout-out to Jenna. If you want to check out another up and coming great contributor to fiction, please click here to see her site and be sure to check out her stories under Jen’s Pen. You’ll be glad you did!
With a rekindled fire burning brightly, and solid advice to point me in the right direction, all I had to do was leap.
Smack! It sure looked like a clear path, but wouldn’t you know it? I ran right into another obstacle. Where on earth was I going to find the time to walk the writer’s path?
I had four options: Win the lotto, quit my day job to become a literal starving artist, sell my children, or grab time by the balls and manage it to my liking. So far the lotto thing hasn’t panned out, I’d hate to starve and as far as selling my kids goes… Well lets just say my market research is inconclusive. I may have to offer a BOGO. The girl is going to cost a fortune because she’s not a pain in the ass yet, and you can have the junior high boy with the purchase of the girl. Ugh, who am I kidding? I can’t sell the kid’s either. Not only are they getting to the age of becoming my twisted little minions, they are also my biggest source of inspiration. I suppose I should also mention that I love them to pieces too.
Great… It looked as though I was going to have to cram one more thing into an already busy life. Not only that, the path of a writer was going to have to become a big priority amongst it all.
I’ll be damned if I will cave under the load of managing the task of what I was born to do amongst the life I was given. Perhaps you have a passion of your own that you are having a difficult time squeezing into the cracks of time. Here are five steps we can take to better accommodate the things we want to do with the things we have to do.
1. Take care of your body as well as your mind.
A good diet, regular exercise and adequate quality sleep are a must to achieve balance. Sure, it sounds like just another thing to carve into your day. I assure you, it is not. A Proper diet will give the body and the mind what they need to function as efficiently as possible. Regular cardio vascular activity has shown to benefit both mind and body. Regularly cycling, running or even walking will increase or help maintain bone density while strengthening your heart, and helping your body use fat for energy. Perhaps most importantly under this application, cardio also causes your brain to release endorphins. These endorphins improve mood and focus while thwarting stress, tension and anxiety. As far as sleep is concerned, according to Timothy Morgenthaler, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic, we only need 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night. Less over a period of time, and we begin to operate inefficiently. More than 7-8 hours of quality sleep just means you need to get your lazy ass out of bed and get cracking.
2. Make a Plan.
This one probably sounds pretty obvious, but it is imperative. I find planning every hour down to the ‘T’ is counterproductive. Murphy’s friggen law will undoubtedly rear its ugly head anytime you make something concrete. Instead, make a checklist of must do’s for the week along with an allotted time frame for each, and check them off as you go.
3. Determine What Stays and What Goes.
We all have things we do in life that we can either cut down or give up entirely. “I have to watch television four hours a night.” “I must play video games, surf social media posts, (insert digital vice here) anytime I have a free second.” “I have to say yes anytime someone I care about asks me to do something.” Really?.. Are these things more important than making some time to pursue a passion? Are they more important the feeling content in your successes of holding true to a plan?
4. Prioritize and Compromise Without Causing Harm.
This is perhaps the most difficult step to allowing time for everything in your life. We’ve cleaned house with what stays and what goes; now it’s time to juggle what is left. Only you can determine what is most important in your life, but the key is that there is undoubtedly more than just one thing in your life that is a must have. Relationships, loved ones, children, the daily tasks of maintaining a home in a satisfactory state, work, bills and even occasional breaks for the sake of sanity are all important. Put them all in your plan. Literally make it a manual entry thing in the beginning. Adjust the allotted time as necessary; it will congeal over time. The process will eventually take a less manual entry approach. The main point here is to NOT sacrifice the well-being of others or yourself in the process of squeezing in time for your dreams.
On a closing note regarding the challenges of making time for the things we want to achieve, I feel it is important to mention this important step. Communicate! Tell the people in your life about the changes you are making. You will likely find your communication met by support and a degree of accountability. These are great things. Having people in our respective corners who truly empathize and support us is essential. Why do you think at the back of nearly every book, the author takes the time to thank a myriad of people who helped get that book into your hands? Because without them, that author didn’t stand a chance.
Hopefully these five steps will be helpful to you in managing the things you want to do with the things you have to do. God knows I struggle with holding to my own advice almost every single day. The most important thing is that we stay persistent because…