SelfCare and Balance for Writers

How I Found My Balance

Work can kind of take over your life. Add to it the ever growing demand of dishes and laundry, and it seems like there is never enough time in the day to get your long list of things done. Writing usually finds itself at the very bottom of that list.

Lately, that has meant a lot of things got left behind. I’ve been working at a rate of 4k words a day for my ghostwriting client, plus writing plots at night for other clients. My client work has pretty much eclipsed my personal writing life. At the end of the day I can barely stand to look at the screen let alone string two words together.

Here is a list of what I’ve been doing:

  • Writing 4,ooo words a day.
  • Running a mile. Update: I now go to Planet Fitness Mon-Fri to run and lift weights!
  • Housework, the endless monster that WILL kill me someday.
  • Watching Twitch with my husband.
  • Write a 25 bullet point plot outline for client.

Here is what I SHOULD have been doing everyday:

  • Write 4k a day.
  • Run a mile.
  • Housework, the endless monster that WILL kill me someday.
  • Scrubbing the nooks and crannies of my house.
  • Marketing my website that I haven’t updated in months.
  • 20 pages of revisions on the Slavic Fantasy I’ve been sitting on.
  • 2k words on the first book in a new series.
  • Polish my young adult manuscript to start searching for literary agents.
  • Read books on Marketing because… how do?
  • Write 25 bullet point plot outline for client.
  • Re-dye hair?

Clearly, there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish this hefty list of tasks. Most of them I was happy to eschew in favor of a few more hours of Twitch TV. But, let’s be honest. Sitting on the couch to watch tv, no matter the medium, isn’t all that rewarding.

Here is how I’ve amped up my productivity by doing more things for me!


Gaming

This is something I’ve fallen in love with over the past few years. Before marrying my husband, I was a fan of Nintendo DS games or just sitting back and watching others play. Now, I get excited to hop onto Discord and play a couple hours ofDestiny 2 with my online friends.

What this does is actively engage me so that I’m not sitting in a dull heap, worrying about all the things I should do, but don’t want to. Instead, I explore beautifully designed planets with my husband and work toward small goals, like collecting exotic weapons in the game.

Self Care

I’ve become more aware of my body and how old I’m getting as of late. There is less than a month until my next birthday, putting me another marker closer to thirty. I’m noticing the dark circles under my eyes and the way my jeans absolutely don’t fit. Instead of letting that drag me down, I’ve come to a beautiful compromise.

To help my physical state, I’ve taken to actually implementing a beauty routine. I’m investing in face masks, bath bombs, hair care products, and doing my nails. This way, when I look in the bathroom mirror, I see less of that intrinsic terror at my doomed and finite existence. You know, just girly things.

I’ve amazed myself with how I’ve kept up running and how my body has changed because of it. I love how it allowed me to break up my morning work routine and reinvigorated me. I love how it got me outside more. Now, Hubs and I went in on a gym membership and we’ve added strength training and a new diet to our lives. Here’s the catch: I’m not looking to lose amazing amounts of weight.

I really just want to be healthier. I’m okay with my big thighs and my squishy belly. It’s too much damned work to get it off and keep it off. I’ve done it before and I wasn’t completely happy with my body at that time and I couldn’t eat anything really good. Now, I can splurge here and there and still know that I’m being healthy.

Which is great for my attitude and energy when it comes to work.

Socialization

Recently, I’ve become part of an online social circle. I made two, really amazing friends from a Facebook blogging group and I talk to them EVERY DAY about anything and everything. We talk about writing, blogging, social media, dieting, relationships, shopping, body images, and the list goes on.

It’s so easy when you work from home to get caught up and trapped in the four walls that surround you. Don’t force yourself to engage for the sake of engaging, it can be extremely draining. Instead, put yourself out there and wait for relationships to organically grow. If you’re not out there, then it won’t happen.

This means engaging on social media, asking colleagues for advice (which led to my awesome friendship with Hannah at BTLEditorial.com.) Reach out to your fans, followers, and viewers. You’d be surprised with how much you have in common (which led to me finding Kayla of Epicfied.com and now I’m never letting her go).


Find things that help reinvigorate you. It might be reading a book in the bathtub, or it might be a three mile run on the waterfront. A lot of it will seem indulgent and may make you feel guilty at first, but don’t let that scare you away. You need to take care of yourself so you can later get done what needs to be done.

In time, as your personal happiness starts to improve, you will find that your willingness to work on the things that need to be done will improve as well. None of the things I stated above are immensely time consuming. I can wear a face mask while I market on social media. I can game or run in between bouts of writing. Choosing small personal goals to accomplish through the day will help make you feel more fulfilled when it comes to dedicating your time to work.

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