Balancing Act: Writing and Yoga
The idea of balance is such a pervasive one. It comes up in writing and work discussions all the time, but also in nutrition, exercise, money, and everywhere else in life. Everyone always wants to be in balance, to achieve that perfect, blissful state. In fact, how this blog originated was in a conversation where Christine asked me how I balance writing for more than one publisher (and in more than one genre). I’ll get to that in a minute. J
The theme of “balance” was a particularly rich one for me to think about in my current Samhain release, Bending Over Backwards (also an RT TOP PICK!). In that book, my overworked yoga instructor heroine may be able to hold a complicated pose, but she’s definitely not in balance in her life. My hero has also been thrown off balance by a tragic event that has changed his life forever – he’s just not sure how to get his feet under him again.
Just to be clear, I’m no yoga expert. Not by a long shot, but practicing has taught me a lot about balance. I only started practicing yoga three years ago. One instructor I like in particular is Jason Crandell. Mr. Crandell offers a key point of advice on his DVD as he guides viewers through Tree Pose. He says that balance is not a constant state – we constantly fall in and out of it (paraphrase). Even in the most stable tree pose, some part of your body might still waver and tilt, if only a little. That was such a key idea for me that it stays with me constantly. Balance is not an illusion, but it is momentary – holding it for any period of time takes practice, and falling out of it is inevitable.
As I have come to think of it, balance is a verb – we do it more than we attain it.
So, to answer Christine’s original question, a few of the things I do to have some balance in my writing life are:
1) I try to be clear about my limits and avoid things I know will get me in a bind. I’m open with my editors about my schedules and abilities. I don’t say yes if I know I can’t do something, or if it will cause too much stress. I try to work within my strengths, while stretching to my edge – but not past it. Every now and then I end up in some kind of a logjam, but then I remember not to do that again the next time. ;)
2) I try to be in the moment. When I am writing a book, it is the book I focus on. When I am editing, I edit. I do one thing, one project, at a time in my writing, and it works (today I am only writing blogs). Each project has my full attention , and I think that’s how they come out best. When I split my attention, the work suffers. I couldn’t hold two yoga poses at once, and when I am in one, I don’t think about the last one or the next one. That way I can hold the pose better and pay attention to form. I’ve tried to approach my writing the same way.
3) I try to remember that every day is different. My yoga or my writing will not be the same tomorrow or next year as it is today. If you’ve written and submitted enough, you will get rejections and bad reviews. Your career will change in ways you can’t expect, for better and worse. There will be ups and downs. It’s inevitable that you will lose your balance. But you will also get it back again.
The key word in all of these is of course “try.” J How do you try to keep your balance? Share, and I’ll give away a copy of BendingOver Backwards to one commenter.
Samantha, thanks so much for visiting my blog today. I love the advice about remembering every day is different. So flexibility and reassessing one's goals is important. I also like the idea of working on one project at a time. I tend to layer my days, but maybe your way is a better way to approach my new writing journey. I'm going to try it and see if it works!