As I settle properly into writing full time (it’s been a year now and yes, I’m finally grasping the fact that I am a full-time writer), I’ve come to realise that writing is all about balance.
The balance between keeping bum on seat long enough to write a decent day’s work and removing said bum from seat frequently enough to prevent a spare tyre from settling around the midriff…
Then there’s the balance between editing and producing new material, between writing because you love it and earning a living…
And finally, the balance between writing for yourself and trying to get published.
This, for many, is the toughest to achieve. After all, as writers, we’re driven by a need to create – but what is the point of creation if no one gets to enjoy it?
It’s a tricky one and I’m not sure there’s an answer; but I do know that my best creations are those I’ve written when I’ve turned off the ‘will it get published?’ part of my brain and concentrate on writing a damn good story.
Of course, competitions and deadlines are a perfect way to inspire new ideas and get a bit of a mental shove. But that hungry, questioning side still has to be switched off for the work to reach it’s potential. Or so I find.
In many ways, the biggest struggle is maintaining a sense of realism. In an ideal world, I could sit at the computer forever, forging ahead with astounding word counts and multiple stories; food, sleep and conversation outside of Twitter would become a thing of the past.
But in reality, we need downtime. We need a balance. And it’s OK to switch off the computer. Take a walk. Make a roast. Phone a friend. Because how else will our brains recuperate? If they can’t recharge, if they can’t let go once in a while – how will they ever produce work that’s good enough to be published?
I create balance by being outdoors, growing food, cooking, painting, making stuff; I surround myself with music, nature and inspiring friends.
What do you do to maintain balance? And are you doing enough of it?