Do you have balance in your writing life? Readers might remember my last article about how to keep your writing fun amidst all the projects and jobs we have clogging up our time. Now, I’m here to tell you that along with that fun, there must be a healthy balance in your working life between your writing and your day job, between your passion projects and your paying projects.
Take it from someone whose life recently got very busy and will stay very busy for the next few months. I now have a full-time job, a part-time internship, two part-time writing jobs for two websites, a freelance transcribing gig, a sorely neglected blog and an infrequent editing volunteer opportunity.
And that doesn’t even include my own passion projects. These are what get us up in the morning and what motivate us to keep moving through busy schedules, rejection letters and the minutiae of everyday life.
Balance Your Projects
In order to achieve balance, it is imperative that you squeeze out enough time from your busy days to work on the stuff you really care about. Your passions are your passions for a reason: you need them to function.
Luckily for me, my internship is something I really enjoy doing and will give me the kind of experience to move up to a paying job in publishing eventually. But if you’re not fortunate enough to currently have that sort of opportunity, that should be more incentive to seek out a tiny corner of your day to scribble down your thoughts, whether they’re story ideas or snippets of dialogue or a full outline of a book-length project.
You can’t scrape through your days with nothing to look forward to. And you can’t expect to have a career in the future if you don’t work at it now, even with days where you think you can’t possibly fit much else into your schedule. I have those days every day. But I know if I don’t at least scribble down a few lines, the rest of my work suffers.
Balance is all a matter of scheduling. To keep your creativity flowing and your (future) career on the right path, you’ll need to carve out a concrete time for writing. Or just remind yourself every time you take a break at work or have a minute to breathe between loads of laundry or carpooling to scribble something on a napkin or into your phone’s notepad.
You don’t have to write fully-developed stuff every day. That’ll never happen. But getting your ideas down on paper can only increase your productivity everywhere else.
So, next time you’re waiting for the dryer to finish, write down that idea that’s been eating away at you. You’ll need it later.