Work/School/Writing/Life Balance

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As a writer, one of my biggest struggles is finding time for everything. I already have a job that cuts into a lot of my writing time. In the fall, I’ll be starting on my Engineering degree, which will eliminate a lot of my writing time. Because of this, I’m trying to figure out what I cut back to make more time for writing (and marketing).

Unfortunately, there are certain things you always have to do in life. Dishes don’t wash themselves. Houses don’t stay clean without some help. Grass doesn’t stop growing because you don’t have time to cut it.

For some people, the answer would be to sleep less, but that doesn’t work for me. I’m on medication that makes it necessary for me to average about eight hours of sleep. Sure, I can cut back to seven or six hours for a night or two if I need to, but I can’t sustain those over long stretches of time.

So it comes down to being more productive with the time I do have. I’m still trying to figure out how I can find this productivity. I might not be able to meet my general writing goal of 3,000 words a day. There’s too much other stuff taking up my time.

The biggest place I’ll have to cut back is reading. Thankfully, I’ve already read a lot of book, and I have a good feel now for what makes good prose. I’ll miss reading as much as I normally do, but it’s a sacrifice I’ll have to make if I want to juggle all the responsibilities on my plate. I won’t stop reading. I could never do that. But I might have to cut down to a book or two a week rather than the three to four. After all, I can’t abandon reading altogether. It’s one of the most crucial aspects of being a writer, and my writing has improved tremendously since I’ve dedicated myself to reading a lot.

I’ll also need to cut back on non-essential internet time and video games. Sure, the internet is fun, but if I’m not doing something writing-related, it’s not really helping me, is it? I also love video games, but they’ll be there later when I have more time to play them.

This is part of being a writer. It’s not an easy path. You have to make some sacrifices. In the end, if the things you’re sacrificing are more important to you than writing, that’s a sign that you shouldn’t be a writer.

That being said, you shouldn’t cut leisure activities out altogether. Everyone needs a few chances to unwind with something fun and non-stressful. It’s part of staying sane, and for someone like me who has mental health issues, staying sane is an important consideration.

I’ll have to play this all by feel. I’m heading into uncharted territory. I’d love to have a plan for everything, but sometimes you can only develop a plan once you know what you’re getting into.

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