Writer Wednesday: The Summer Balancing Act
Hello Authors and welcome into another Writer Wednesday. Sometimes, we talk industry, sometimes we talk about craft, and sometimes we talk about living the life of an author. Today is the latter.
That Summer Time Balance
Summer is firmly here, and many of us are already feeling the pressure to perform. Summer is an odd time of year to be honest. We have to contend with the heat. Some of us have a weird mix of school/ university breaks to contend with. There is this three month chunk that we have to somehow manage. Those of us with kids have to contend with the break in routine. Many of us just keep working our day job without much change except for the expectation to 'relax & enjoy the sunshine'. Summer time, despite the often oppressive heat, is a time for gatherings, activities, vacations, and everything that calls to us from the out doors. Even those of us who have to contend with the 9 to 5 feel the call of the beach or camping, or spending somewhere other, indoors or out. There is something about the Summer months that prods our sense of adventure, to explore, to feed our souls in any small way we can.
So where does the author fit into all of this? Many of us, most of us, wedge our author hats in between all the other hats we wear. It is our third or fourth job, the one we sacrifice sleep or relaxation time for because there are only so many hours in a day and Summer can be the time of the year where we keenly feel that sacrifice. The pull of parenting might take precedence, or the need to give yourself a mental/ physical/ spiritual break may have become necessary in order to avoid burning out. And yet...and yet, we feel guilty for taking time away from one thing or another. We feel guilty that we can't balance it all, that we can't achieve this super human feat day in and day out.
Balance is Compromise
If this post is beginning to sound like a self care post, you caught me. I am here to tell you, internet stranger that I am, that it is okay if you can't balance it all, everyday. It's okay if you can't find that balance the whole summer, because we are all human and there are a lot of demands on our time. Maybe you can only write on the weekends or maybe you only manage a paragraph every fortnight. That's okay too. I will even tell you...it's okay to take the whole summer off from writing, if you can.
Now, some of us are facing unavoidable summer deadlines that might feel a little over whelming at times. How are we going to find the time to crank out those words or address those edits on top of everything else that demands out time?
Make yourself a schedule. It might be the only way to do this. You might hate it at the time but you will thank yourself later that you created a niche to fight these tasks into.
Allow for the schedule to go completely off the rails. If you miss a date, it's not a crisis. Create back up times. Give yourself lenience
Don't demand too much of a your time at once. Feeling that crunch, it might seem like a good idea to try and push through a deadline as fast as possible, but when you are balancing so many factor, setting a slow & steady pace is a lot more beneficial to your mental health and, believe it or not, to your word count because it eases some of the pressure to perform. Setting low bars to hit makes whatever extra you do seem personally impressive, and those small wins can be a mental boost when you hit days that every word feels like you spat it out through your teeth.
Low goals is good goals. Fifty words doesn't seem like a lot right? There are days where fifty words seems like an insurmountable hill to climb. There are other days where you will breeze past that count and bank up the words.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. I stress this every time I do one of these posts but we tend to be our worst critics and our harshest task masters. Remember to give yourself breaks in those schedules. Remember to get out and enjoy the sunshine. Hydrate!