One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the past ten years is that balance is essential.
As a writer, my brain never seems to shut down. I am always writing or thinking about what I am going to write. It is like a non-stop merry-go-round. I am not just an author, I am also a freelance writer which means that a lot of my time is spent on client projects (these pay the bills). The problem with this however, is that I find I am always looking for time to spend on my own writing projects. The day goes by, the client work gets done, but there is no time left for my own writing. This is what has happened with my blogs and the half finished manuscripts sitting on my laptop.
It is not just my own personal writing that gets neglected because of client work, over the years my family life has suffered too. I made sure that my children were looked after and their needs taken care of but my marriage started to suffer. Constantly working, searching for new clients, etc., took its toll. I was so wrapped up in achieving success and bringing in the money that I didn’t see how neglected my husband was feeling. In the end it took a huge argument for me to realise what was happening. I am happy to report that I learned a massive lesson. Now I have set work hours and my laptop doesn’t even get turned on at the weekend.
You really don’t see what is happening when you start out on the freelance writing path. You are living in your own little bubble, filled with excitement and joy, and of course you are living your dream. That is how it was for me and the more clients I attracted the more successful I felt. Fast forward ten years and things are so different. Now it is not about the length of my client list but whether I feel the client is a good fit for me and my lifestyle. I have children and I have a husband. I had to learn to treat my freelance writing as a job and not my entire life. I have seen this happen to so many new freelance writers too.
Life is not just about work and I know we all want to achieve our dreams, but if your dream gets in the way of your life then you really need to question whether your dream is worth it. Writing is something that I can never give up. It is something that I live and breathe, but I am not prepared to let it take over my life completely. I have learned an extremely valuable lesson in all of this and that is to stop and assess how things are going every once in a while. You can change your goals and still achieve them.
In creating work hours I now manage to get a lot more done. I also have family time and of course me time where I can write my own stuff. In the past year alone I have managed to complete three books, start my first fiction novel, make time for learning. I cut down on my client work and now only accept projects that excite me. With my free time I am also studying freelance journalism and I have started submitting short stories, poems and articles to various publications. I am getting so much more done than ever before and my life has purpose again. I no longer feel drained at the end of the day and client work is never a chore.
If you are feeling drained and overwhelmed, feeling like there is not enough time in the day, then perhaps it is time that you looked at creating some balance. What areas of your life are being neglected? When your life has balance, everything runs smoothly and believe me, you really fit a lot more into your days.