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Managing Writing Energy

Lately my mind has been a bit all over the place, writing-wise and elsewise, and, to be honest, not very wisely.

Part of the problem has been out of my hands, since everyday life's been a bit out of kilter. I've had a few days out due to sickness, a few days out to kids being sick, and two days of looking after my daughter because school's out around here.

That's been frustrating, of course, but it doesn't count for all of my disfocus. (I don't think that word exists, but it really should.) I've also been pushing the envelope for my copywriting business (aka day job), because even wildly successful authors like me (*cough*) need to eat.

To do that, I've been networking with a lot of people and expanding various business platforms on the web (LinkedIn, G+, and my business homepage), writing about my partners, and adding content to my web page.

In other words: I've been juggling way more information than I should. Basically, I'm introvert and intuitive (according to Meyer-Briggs), which means that when other people enter the picture, I use up a lot of energy. That goes for IRL situations, but to a lesser extent also for social media.

As a consequence, when I finally have time to write fiction, I have little left to say, or little energy to say it with. I'm hoping that the expansion phase of my business is going to slow down in the coming weeks--my calendar certainly looks manageable--so that I'll have a little more power to write.

Until then I just have to accept that this is the way things are for me at the moment. Still, I would love to hear what tricks you employ to manage writing life and your other life, and how you keep the fires burning for both your job, your writing, and your family.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
j_cheney
Apr. 22nd, 2013 06:59 pm (UTC)
It seems sometimes like life conspires to slow us down....
jakobdrud
Apr. 23rd, 2013 01:10 pm (UTC)
Yes. Usually it's just momentarily, which is worth keeping in mind.
glynisj
Apr. 22nd, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
I don't write like you do, not even close, but I have had the same problems getting into the writing mood. I finally broke down and made a strict schedule for myself. It helped a little.
jakobdrud
Apr. 23rd, 2013 01:11 pm (UTC)
Hey, whatever works :-)
bogwitch64
Apr. 22nd, 2013 11:30 pm (UTC)
The only way to keep the writing life (or family life) alive is to do it. Make time even if the words won't come. Make it consistent. An hour a day, an hour a week--manage something. You must.
jakobdrud
Apr. 23rd, 2013 01:22 pm (UTC)
There's much to be said about sitting down and turning off the internet. I sometimes meet up with a friend and hold writing sessions, which are usually very productive. I'm not very good at scheduling a particular time of day for my writing--but I do know how to apply butt to chair.

Jay Lake uses the awesome expression 'emotional bandwidth' to describe having enough energy to [live, write, handle things]. I can see how life sometimes steals away that bandwidth for non-creative purposes.
Brent_Knowles
Apr. 23rd, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
I find it best if I write at about the same time every day. Makes me treat it more seriously. I also have a variety of projects on the go at one time, so there's always something else I can work on, if I'm not in the mood for a particular story. If I'm not really in the mood at all I just write terrible rough draft material; I don't bother trying to do final edits or such, unless I'm feeling up to it.

Recently I've also scheduled fun time -- just a bit every week, where I don't do any writing/family/other responsible stuff. I've found that helps with recharging my energy.

- Brent
jakobdrud
Apr. 24th, 2013 04:06 pm (UTC)
I have various projects in various states, so I can usually choose between editing or writing depending on my state of mind. That's a real help, because I can always get something done. Doing horrible drafts is not one of my forces. I'd rather write perfectly from the beginning (*Yes, I know*) so that part of the process drains a lot of energy, because I have to force my perfectionism aside.

Fun time - yes! (Guitar, anyone)
eve_n_furter
Apr. 23rd, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Family comes first if there's competition. I'm employed (with non-writing) and want to prioritize my small kid over my hobbies. Hence: little and inconsistent writing. Makes me want to weep sometimes, but my kid needs me right now. I'll immerse myself in me-time when the bird has flown the nest. (But the hours where dad gives mum time off is writing & reading & squeeing & fangirling heaven! XD)
jakobdrud
Apr. 24th, 2013 03:53 pm (UTC)
Family has to come first, especially with small kids. I'm fortunate enough that I can set aside some of my working hours for fiction writing, but I write very little during the weekends. (And take it from me, you'll have more time when the small one grows older - it does get easier :-) )
paulwoodlin
Apr. 26th, 2013 01:31 am (UTC)
While I agree that family should come first, no one made it to the top of their profession watching their kids' school plays. Not disagreeing... just throwing in some perspective.
jakobdrud
Apr. 26th, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
There's no question about it. There's definitely a connection between the hours spent working at your craft (writing or otherwise) and the chance of professional success. It's a choice everyone has to make.

For me, being part of a happy family makes me happier. That may not equal professional success, but it's definitely success :-) And I'll keep writing anyway, since making up good stories is a kind of success too, publication or not.


musingaloud
Apr. 23rd, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
I have no answers and wish I did. Sometimes, too, I think we just need a few days break to re-charge.
jakobdrud
Apr. 24th, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
From what you're sharing at your blog, you have plenty on your plate already. I can sure understand if you need to take care of yourself sometimes. I'm only tired because of my job - I imagine your Mom's sickness is a real energy sink.
musingaloud
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:40 pm (UTC)
You know, you made me stop and realize that I *do* have a lot on my plate right now. Going over it all made me tired all over again! ;-D So at least I can stop driving myself so hard, which is at the bottom of the stress -- that inner voice telling me that I'm not doing enough. Geez!
jakobdrud
Apr. 26th, 2013 03:13 am (UTC)
It's important to realize when you're carrying a heavy load. If it removes the guilt from the load, then that's one less ton to haul around. I paid my therapist good money to tell me this, so it must be true ;-)
musingaloud
Apr. 26th, 2013 10:30 pm (UTC)
I like your therapist! Very wise!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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