Wednesday, December 13

A Writer's Quest For Balance

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Nonwriters may think the writer’s life is dull, with all its reading and writing, but never judge a profession by how it looks.  We writers are always chasing ideas and dreams. We’re always rushing to capture thoughts into books and articles. We live and breathe by our deadlines. 

In fact, the writing profession is a stressful one. Now stress is not all bad. It can make a positive contribution to our creative output, but to live on the edge all the time? Not so good.

Yesterday was a travel day for me. I promised my cousin, who recently adopted a baby boy, that I would come and help out. While here in lovely southern California I hope to meet a potential client as well, but the main purpose for my visit is to help a little boy adjust to his new life.

Flying from Chicago O’Hare to Denver to my final destination, I had a lot of time to obsess about my projects and commitment to this blog. In the midst of all this obsessing about things I couldn’t control, something strange caught my attention. Babies and toddlers, they were everywhere! That’s odd, I thought. Where the heck did all these babies come from? They were crying, laughing, babbling, and playing up and down the aisles. Oddly I wasn’t bothered by any of it. It was if amysterious force was preparing me for my imminent visit with my new cousin — or distracting me from my work obsessions.

Kids always have something better to do!Babies are so demanding. It’s hard to write at home and care for one properly. I had to train mine when they were young because if I didn’t write, they wouldn’t eat. We established a rhythm. My son would read or do homework in my bedroom office while I wrote. His younger sister would sometimes curl up like a kitten on my lap or under my desk. They forced balance into my life.

Now that the nest is empty and the little birdies have flown away, I’ve been working without distraction — until now.

Tired of being tired?

The quest for balance also shows up when we’re overstressed and tired. Sometimes you need to take a break from the hustle and grind. Or like my mother the English teacher says, “You need to get some rest.”

My mother is a big fan of rest. Her ongoing narratives extolling the wonders of her own rest periods are the stuff of legend in our family. Comments such as “I’m going to bed” and “Boy, I was really sleeping” and “That was some hard sleeping I was doing” and “Was I snoring?” make us roll our eyes — but she has a point.

Researchers recently found that a lack of rest can lead to obesity.Maybe that’s why my weight is too damn high. Not enough rest. 

I get up early and go to bed late whenever I’m working on a project. How can you expect to feel good or be at your best creatively when you’re burning the candle at both ends?

Imbalance occurs when we neglect some sort of a spiritual practice that steers attention within, that calms thoughts down, that reconnects us to God.

So I must thank my new baby cousin for forcing me to slow down and think about something else. Work is important, but so are other things that bring joy, love, and fun.

Take time today to attend to those other things you’ve been neglecting, and if you have a unique way of dealing with stress and imbalance in your writer’s life, we need to know right now!

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