Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Balancing Act



By Darlene L. Turner


Most full-time day jobs are demanding and stressful. Sound familiar? So how does a writer balance a writing career with that dreaded day job? Is it possible?

Yes.

Many do it today. In fact, most writers also have a daily vocation that includes a challenging routine with possible overtime. How does that leave time for writing when they come home exhausted and brain dead after working an eight-hour day? Add in the responsibilities of family, church, and other relationships. It never ends. How is it done?

By being creative. Here are some hints and suggestions.

1.      Develop a schedule – when is the best time to write? Early morning? Late evening after the kids have gone to bed? Writers need to find the hours that work best for them. Everyone is different. What one writer finds successful may be the exact opposite for another. Pick a time and stick to it. Let’s tell our family and friends our writing schedule. They need to know we’re not available.
2.      Eliminate distractions – in today’s society there is so much to distract us. Television shows, movies, video games, social media, etc. These all add up and become time gobblers. We shouldn’t get rid of them completely, but reduce the hours spent. Perhaps record those shows and watch them when we need a break (see #3) or inspiration. Reduce our social media interactions to 30 minutes a day. Balancing our distractions gives us more time to write.
3.      Recharge your muse – sometimes our minds get cluttered with such things as work, social media, family outings, etc. We need to unwind. Take a break. Go for a walk, go for lunch with a friend, watch your favorite TV show. It may spark a new idea. Just don’t overdo it.
4.      Write in short sprints – every minute of writing adds up. Only have an hour in an evening? Write. 30 minutes? Write. Get a community of writers together and do a writing sprint via video conference. This can be a lot of fun and can feed your muse. Brainstorming with others is invaluable and gives a fresh perspective.
5.      Take care of our health – hunching over a laptop can take its toll on our bodies. Plus, if you spend your day time job doing the same, it will result in sore muscles, headaches, anxiety. We need to be sure to get ample rest, exercise, and eat healthy. Instead of reaching for that chocolate, grab an apple. When we follow a positive routine, it ensures our balance is intact. It keeps us fresh and ready to tackle our jobs and writing sprints.

These are only a few suggestions to help balance work and writing life. Every writer’s schedule is different and we need to find what works best. The only caveat? Stick with it to reach maximum results.

What are your suggestions on how to balance work and writing?
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Darlene L. Turner writes romantic suspense and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray with the Steve Laube Agency. Her love of mystery began as a young girl when she picked up her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her own writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and changed by the Christ-centered message. She’s had numerous articles published and is a Craftsman Alumni of the Jerry B. Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild. Darlene is a finalist in the 2019 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence contest and won in 2016. She’s also a finalist in the 2019 ACFW Genesis contest and won in 2017. She lives with her husband in the Forest City of London, Ontario. She blogs weekly at www.darlenelturner.com where she believes there’s suspense beyond borders. Social Media links: Website: https://darlenelturner.com/
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