THE WRITE LIFE: The Struggle For Balance
Posted on January 5, 2019
There is one thing we all have in common as writers, and that’s the frustration of a fruitless writing session. Whether you are a writer of short fiction or blogs like me, or whether you tether yourself to longer projects like a novel – eventually, you’re going to just sit and stare at a blank screen for what feels like hours with no progress.
In my own life, I haven’t discovered a specific cure for this. I’ve already covered Writer’s Block in another post (which you can check out HERE) – but that’s not really what I’m getting at. Writer’s Block is usually the result of several factors, which you may or may not have control over. What I’m talking about in this post is “balance”. I believe a lack of balance in your life when it comes to writing can actually result in Writer’s Block.
When I’m feeling particularly productive, I’ll go sit at a cafe for a couple of hours at a time and crank out a blog post or two or work on a short story. But I noticed if I do that too often, I can easily get burnt out. So, I try not to push myself too hard. I don’t want to blow a mental gasket trying to pop the words out of my brain and onto the page. I want the words to flow naturally, I want to have fun with the process.
I believe the key to finding true balance lies with the individual. I know my limits, and you should too. If you start to feel like you’re getting burnt out, don’t shame yourself into not taking a break and focusing on something else. I know lots of writers say it’s taboo to do – but stop writing. Watch an episode of a television show. Read a book. Take a walk. Go out to dinner. Do anything but sit and stare at the blank page or screen, because honestly – inspiration does not often come to find you. I find inspiration in everyday life, in other pop culture media, in nature.
Blogger/Writer Jeff Gloins says that writing is manual labor. He writes the following:
“We don’t control inspiration. We don’t even know where it comes from or how it works. That’s not the point. But it comes to those who are patient and willing to put in the hours, maybe even years, before seeing a single ray of light in what feels like a vast sea of darkness.”
I agree with Mr. Gloins for the most part, but I also think that while the idea of writing as manual labor has some truth to it, I also believe that you are your own boss and you make the rules – and if even the most demanding manual labor job requires breaks, then you should figure those into your work day as well, especially if you’re not getting anywhere. You’ll come back with a fresher outlook, and a rested brain. The words will always be there for you when you’re ready. (Just don’t stay away for too long – remember…balance).