It's been a while since I blogged about my finding-balance resolution. And most of my previous posts related to giving myself permission to take little breaks, or trying to curtail multitasking insanity. I'm typically the sort of person who tries to work too hard, sometimes to a fault. The "1000 words a day" mantra is literal for me, and occasionally it feels more like an obligation than a goal.
But because of an abundance of real-life wonderful things this summer, I haven't written since the end of June. At first it was very weird to be not-writing (or revising, etc.), since I hadn't taken a break longer than a week in three years. Except I was happily distracted by travel and weddings (mine and a dear friend's), so break-taking got not-weird pretty quickly. In fact, it was super. I found many ways to fill the post-work hours: running and yoga, outdoor movies, after-dinner walks around the city, reading lots of great books, picnics, sprawling on a blanket in the park and watching the clouds, writing thank-you notes, etc. Sometimes I even felt lazy. And I kind of liked it.
Throughout my hiatus, though, writing was never far from my thoughts. Eventually, I started to miss working on a project. I love writing; I like having a regular writing schedule and the sense of accomplishment and motivation I get from that routine. I'm finding that the longer the break, the harder it is to get back to work (more on that in another post). But a write-every-day plan might not be realistic for me this fall. So now I am tasked with carving writing-time out of what feels like a fairly full schedule. In other words, finding balance.
Part of balance is figuring out how to adjust your goals and routines as the rest of your life demands. The best lesson from my summer vacation from writing was that I really started to miss my writing routine. The second-best lesson was that it great it felt to have ample time in my life for experiences off the written page.
I started work on a fun new MG project, so I've set the following intentions for it and my writing life:
--Finish a rough draft by December
--Write 5000 words each week (I hope to sometimes write more, but I also want them to be 5000 quality words)
--Allow myself to substitute research for word count as needed (again, aiming for quality words, which sometimes require a little groundwork) (I promise not to use "research" as an excuse to fall down the time-sucking Interwebs/Wikipedia Rabbit Hole of Cool and Obscure Facts, at least not too often.)
--Make sure I take at least one guilt-free no-writing day each week (not every writer needs that, but apparently I do)
I'm calling these intentions, not goals, because I want to be diligent and dedicated but also allow myself the freedom to take as much time as the story needs to be told, and for me to tell it well. Or as well as it can be told in a first draft, anyway.
So, writer friends: How do you balance maintaining a routine with break-taking? Do you find it hard to get back to work after time away from the page?