What have I been up to these days? Not a whole heck of a lot. But you know what? That's kind of okay, too, because I was mentally exhausted and I needed to sleep, eat well, work out, spend time with my family, hang with my friends, stay off the computer, and read magazines.
I heard you gasp. Yes, I said it. I'M READING MAGAZINES. And guess what, some of them are downright trashy, filled with photos of celebrities and articles about hair and makeup and fashion. I know, right? I'm reading stuff that will in no way make me a better writer, and – gasp! – the world didn't end!
I'm doing the exact opposite of everything I did in 2011. And 2010. And 2009. And 2008. Because for the last four years, all I really did was write, read novels, write, Facebook, write, blog, write, tweet, write, read more novels, write, and write some more. I did not sleep that well. I did not eat that well. I did not work out much. I hardly spent any time with family or friends (granted, most of them were in another country). Everything I did centered around writing, and getting published, and STAYING PUBLISHED.
Which is what I had to do. For me to get here (debut novel out, sequel on the way), I had to make writing my entire life. And I don't regret it. But now, the balance isn't working quite as well as it used to.
So it's time to rebalance.
Staying published is still at the top of the agenda, of course. All is good with the writing part of my life.
Key word being "part". It can't be my whole life. To be happy, I need more.
I read this on someone's Facebook the other week, and it really resonated with me:
To be happy in your career, you must:
1. Be a good fit for it.
2. Not do too much of it.
3. Find some success in it.
Numbers one and three, I feel good about. But number two? How much is too much? It became too much for me when writing became more than a full-time job. Because even when I wasn't writing, I was thinking about writing. I never shut it off.
I'm learning to how to shut it off now. I don't have to be thinking about it all the time. It's okay to read magazines once in a while. It's okay to sleep when I'm tired, and eat when I'm hungry. It's okay to pay a 22-year-old trainer named Nate to kick my ass in the gym three days a week (for laughs, follow my gym adventures on Twitter). It's okay to not force myself to blog or Facebook or tweet if I have nothing interesting to say, or am just not in the mood to be social.
It's okay to do what feels right, right now.
In the end, it will make me a better person. Which will make me a better writer.
What about you? Are you happy with your career/life balance? Would you add anything to the list above?
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