When you’re working a ton…

Most of the writers I know don’t have the luxury of being full time, this-is-my-only-job writers. Most of us have other full time jobs as well. Sometimes several. So it’s easy to get into a place of putting in way too many hours, way too many nights in a row. How do we avoid burning out?

It’s on my mind because that’s where I am right now. I’m crazy-busy, for all the best reasons: paying freelance work, a book that an agent and an editor have both requested, another book that just received a fantabulous critique from the author-in-residence at the writing retreat I just attended, plus a science book series on the docket for a great small publishing house in Texas. I’ve been walking that fine line between energized and overwhelmed!

And I know I’m not the only one. At the beginning of the writing road, authors spend hours taking classes, cranking out first drafts, participating in critique groups, rewriting and rewriting–all in addition to their other full-time jobs. Authors farther along the career writers’ path spend days on the road promoting their books, visiting schools, and trying to squeeze in writing time in between the rest.

Balance: that weird, flux state that all writers–perhaps all people–strive to attain. How? How do we do it?

We start by taking time off. Completely off. If you’re working (if I’m working) ten, twelve, fourteen hours a day, you can’t survive without breaks that are just as intensive as your writing time. If you’re writing 24/7 (or if it feels that way), make sure there are a few hours when you’re not allowed to write. Use them to stare at the ceiling, walk the dogs, make nachos for your kids, cuddle by candlelight….and recharge.

Sure, you could read this sort of advice in any anti-stress article; but where would be the fun in that? Happy writing!

:) Cheryl
The hidden price of "productivity" every writer needs to know - www.cherylreif.com

You’ve probably read the same tips I have: Have a smart phone? Check Facebook while standing in line at the post office! Respond to Twitter messages while waiting for your dentist! Catch up on your news feed while sitting on the pot! For years, I thought the path to increased productivity was to squeeze in MORE–more […]

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