Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Balance Act

Also known as Priorities and Finding Time for it All

Life can be chaos. Between work, school, friends, family, chores, sleep, hobbies, and such, it's hard to find the time each day to get everything done. One has to figure out priorities, putting some items before others each day. I’m not the best at balancing thing, I have to admit. I can focus on one activity in particular while the others fall to the side for that time. Then the next month, my focus changes. But I keep trying to get a better balance.

For fun, I’m calling this a tri-balance, as it’s the balance of three important tasks for a writer: writing, reading and editing. All three are important aspects that a writer needs to work on, no matter the stage or commitment level of the writer. Writing is the obvious one since that is what a writer does. Reading and editing are related though, both very important to the process. Combined, they are a trifecta.

Trouble is how to get them all done.

I'm not good at balance. Over a whole year I can get some stuff done, but each month I tend to focus on just one or two tasks. November, of course, is writing. I take part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) each year, focusing on novel writing. I have succeeded the last few years (100k or more), but I have to admit that I get no reading done and definitely no editing. In April, this year, I took part in the A to Z blog challenge using my book review blog. I had to read books in order to have something to review, though thankfully I didn’t have to do all 26 of them. I managed to read 8 books, which is almost as many books as I read all of last year. (Sad, I know.) And I have done at least one month where my focus rested on editing, like getting the edit notes for my novel together some time last year.

Now, I'm trying to find a balance again. It's not an easy task. Part of what helps for me is making goals. I have a writing group that was inspired by NaNoWriMo. While it's not the most active group, I can use my own forum to make goals geared towards all three in order to achieve a tri-balance. I try, at least, even if I don’t always achieve what I set out to do each month.

It doesn't have to be goals, though. Lists, plans, challenges, accountability, the trick is finding something that will work for you because not every writer is the same. Maybe you can't do all three at the same time. That's okay too if looking at the bigger picture. Maybe each month needs a different focus. Or maybe you don't like balance at all. Some work best with chaos and can't deny that either. Do whatever works for you.

Me? I'm still trying to get a tri-balance with the exception of certain months, like November. But other months, I’m trying to get more of a balance going for reading, writing and editing. It’s a work in progress.

How do you balance writing, editing and reading?
Do you focus on 1 each month, or have another method?

Friday, May 2, 2014

Five Years and Still Blogging

Wow. I've had this blog for 5 years. That is crazy.

My first blog post ever, as this was my first official blog, was on May 1, 2009.

Followed soon after (on the 2nd) by this post:

My first month blogging, I put up 9 posts. I started off slow though for the rest of the year with a couple months where I only managed to get up 1 post. 2010 made up for it. That was probably one of my most active blogging years and it's also when I was active on Twitter. I don't post on twitter much anymore so I'll have to work on that one too in the near future.

May 2010:

From reading topics, goals to what do I plan to write, it was quite the month. I had a reading goal week, which to be honest, I don't even remember attempting.  Some success happened and some failure. I had a list of authors to seek out to interview but I'll be honest, I didn't even try. I got distracted by other things, then forgot. A list of books to read, of which in the last 4 years I have read two out of nine. I don't even recognize some of the titles...  This is also the year that I started my other blog, now titled Fiction & Fitness, that is more focused on my life in general along with my personal writing (while I use this one to talk about writing in general).

May 2011:

Some activity in 2011. I attempted an epic giveaway which took me so long to complete in giving away prizes. I learned a lesson that month. As much as I'd like to do great giveaways where I send people stuff, I need to make sure I have the time and money beforehand. Maybe some day in the future I'll be able to do another epic prize giveaway event, alas it won't be any time soon. This is the year I started the book review blog, along with two other readers who were awesome to help me.

May 2012:

I had this one post in May for 2012, after taking part in A to Z challenge. Succeeded in April but I was tired so ended up focusing on other things. Well, that and I moved in June 2012 out to Oregon from Wyoming. Had a lot going on then.

May 2013:

Also a light year after taking part in A to Z challenge the month before. I believe 2013 was the year I took part on this blog and over on my other blog, so I managed to do 52 posts between the two for April, which not surprising leads to smaller posts in May. Last year I started talking about Beta readers and since then, I have had 2 people read my novel and give me some advice. I'm working on final edits and hop to be sending that novel query to agents soon.

Now it's May 2014. And even though the past couple years have been light on content. May not be published yet, or even submitting to agents, but I can definitely say I'm closer. And I have so much more I want to write no matter what happens. And as for blogging, who would have thought I'd still be posting here in 5 years. But I'm still here. Not bad.

And I look forward to another 5 years of blogging.