Balancing the Writing Job and the Writing Passion
Working full time as a writer doing freelance work and work of my own can be a juggling act on the best days and a tightrope act on some of the worst. I have to find a way to balance the work for pay with the writing for passion (which is also starting to pay). Some days I succeed better than others. Other days I come crashing down to the ground HARD!
My key to continued writing success has been founded in my determination to get up no matter how hard I fall. I have to make the conscious decision to see what made me fall and change my future actions so that I do not repeat that mistake and end up on the floor yet again.
Lessons Learned from Falling Down in My Writing Pursuits
1. My multi-tasker can only take so much. I have a tendency to do a lot of things all at once (how many WIP are too many?). Overstressing that part of me that can do more than one thing at a time leaves me unable to do anything. I just sit and stare not able to put one word on the computer. I have to learn to keep my multi-tasking tendencies in check. Know your limits and stay within them.
2. Organization makes working easier. I have had several different methods for keeping track of all my writing jobs and obligations – from a white board to file folders and sometimes a combination of several different methods. The tornadoes displaced us and left me without space for any of my filing methods. It took me several months to find a computerized version that would work for me. Without an easy access to my obligations, I can spin my wheels chasing after things that do not matter or even forget those things that do matter because there was no reminder. Find a way to keep track of it all that works for YOU and that is easy to access.
3. Focus can be distracting. Putting all of my energy into a project often meant there was nothing left for other projects. Spending time on work meant I was too worn out to do my personal writing (where my passion resides). Following my passion would mean me getting too caught up to remember anything else. I learned in November (with the help of NaNoWriMo) that monitoring my work load (I use Excel to keep up with the words I have written each day) makes it possible to have the focus long enough to do what needs to be done and then move on to the next item on the list. Develop a method of keeping track of what you are doing so you can do what needs to be done.
4. Disorganization gives the advantage to distractions. Things will come up. A firm grasp on responsibilities will keep the unexpected from knocking you off track. Organized chaos is NOT organization. I have had to learn that if other people are unable to figure out the method of my madness then it is really just madness. Have a plan that can be easily understood, managed and continued.
5. Passion can be a part of the job even when it is not the entire job. I write articles and content for companies that are not within my passion parameters. My heart belongs to encouraging others to find their own purposeful passion and pursuing it with boldness. BUT, I have found that when I remember that writing the words for work offers encouragement and support to the clients then I am able to channel some passion into my work. Find your heart in everything that you do and you will accomplish more IN what you do.
I can do it all . . . I just am unable to do it ALL at once. I am learning that by putting a few elements in place I can balance the job and the passion and even meld the two at times.