Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Seeking Balance

I began writing again yesterday and mentioned in last night's post that I intended to treat the last nine days of 70 Days of Sweat with the same dedication as the last nine days of NaNo. There is one caveat. One of my intentions for this year is to work at making sure there is room for all of my passions in life. Maybe not daily for every one but with enough regularity that I don't feel deprived.

For years I had it in my head that I shouldn't read fiction while I'm trying to write fiction. That was a huge mistake. For one thing it tended to discourage me from writing because I didn't want to give up the novels on my TBR pile. For another, reading fiction feeds the muse.

I had made that 'rule' for myself based on a discovery that I tended to mimic the voice of the writer I was reading at the time I wrote the scenes. I could trace those shifts in voice as I re-read my manuscripts months and years later.

What I have decided now is that the fact that I took note of that was proof that I could trust myself to find those shifts and shift them back during rewrites.

One of the reasons the chaos in my room got so bad this year was because after I signed up for 70 Days of Sweat round I, I got so hyper-focused on writing, every other thing in my life got neglected.

That included my mind itself. The more disorganized my physical space got the more anxious and frustrated and depressed in energy was my mind. And that insured less productivity in the writing as well as everything else.

My physical health too was neglected. Sleep deprivation and little to no physical exercise depleted both mental and physical energy.

So, in light of all this, I intend to set certain boundaries and expectations for myself to fight the tendency I've always had to hyper-focus on one thing exclusively. Thus I need to find a way to fit all of the following in without loosing the dedication to the writing: reading fiction, exercise, appropriate amounts of sleep, keeping a clean and orderly environment, meditation and/or a spiritual practice, and fine needlework.

One of the related issues I intend to work on this year is my apparent reluctance to finish the projects I start. For what ever reason. On that front there are three goals: to pick one of the ten novels in progress and push to finish a first draft and a first rewrite; to finish the dolphin counted cross stitch wall hanging I posted about in the second week of December when I scanned it while I was scanning family photos at my Mom's (finished means ready to hang on the wall!); and to finish the room project by following through with the minor and major sorting projects.

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