Zabowska's Blog

January 7, 2010

Finding Balance

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 11:12 pm

   For myself, there is nothing harder than achieving some kind of balance
   in my writing life. Last year, although I got a lot of writing done, I got
   desperately ill a few times because I didn’t care for myself properly.
   This year, I vowed to make sure that I don’t repeat my mistakes from
   last year. And for the past week or so, I tried to make sense of what
   ‘balance’ really means. Then I read Kristi Holl’s entry for today on her blog
   and I found it so useful that I have included it for my reflections today
   about balance.
   I think all of us need balance.  But how do we achieve it?  That is the
   million dollar question. Below Kristi Holl has the answer. Now all we have
   to do is follow her advice.
   Thanks so much Kristi for your words of wisdom!
   Critical Questions
   By Kristi Holl
   January 6th, 2010

My biggest goal for 2010 is finding balance in my life.

Last year my health got out balance (no time for self-care) because my volunteer work grew beyond healthy proportions. There wasn’t enough time for my writing, and I found myself emotionally burned out too often.

This year I want to find the balance–and make changes that will support it.

It’s Pretty Simple

One of things I’ve picked up and used from the Simple•ology course I’ve talked about was the importance of two basic questions. Before making each choice of activity–and we make hundreds of choices some days–we are to ask ourselves:

  1. Will this action take me toward my goal or away from my goal? 
  2. Will this behavior strengthen me or make me weaker?

Every action has a reaction, or consequence, attached to it. Usually there is a positive consequence and a negative one. (Think long-term here.) Before making a choice, just ask yourself those two questions.

Choices, Choices

For example, let’s say your dream is to finish and sell your novel and your goal for today is to write the climax scene. You can choose between two Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast or a high fiber cereal and fruit. (Think long-term.) A high sugar, low fiber diet will hurt you in many ways, and an important one is your ability to think clearly and have enough stamina to do your writing. One choice weakens you, and one makes you stronger.

Or let’s say your goal today is to send out five queries for the human interest Christmas story you finished. You can read writing blogs, you can research a current market guide for contact information, or you can see what all your Facebook friends did over the weekend. Only one choice will move you a concrete step toward your goal today.

Apply these questions everywhere throughout your day. Will taking time to stretch and do sit-ups before a writing session help you or hurt you? (Hint: you need strong core muscles and a supple neck to survive many hours at the computer.) But while exercise is good, taking three hours to drive downtown to a gym, work out, and go to Starbucks just keeps you from your goal.

BOTH Are Needed

Remember, you want to take actions that do at least one of two things: get you closer to your writing goal and/or make you stronger. If you only focus on behaviors that get you to your goal (but eat junk, never exercise, have a fight every morning with your spouse, and never have any solitude), you won’t be able to continue too long.

On the other hand, if you only focus on behaviors that make your body stronger and healthier (but spend your writing time forwarding emails, reading a hundred Tweets, and watching the latest YouTube offerings), you won’t get very close to your goal at all.

Temptation is Everywhere!

Every time you’re tempted to waste time online or eat a pint of ice cream for lunch or chat with every instant messenger who pops up, you are facing a choice. One choice will weaken you–one will make you stronger. One will help you reach your goal–one will push you back even farther.

It’s your choice. And with every good choice you make, it’s easier to make a positive choice the next time. Each choice you face is a potential step toward your writing goals. Take it!


  1. Great information and ideas for finding balance as well as working towards your goals. Thanks.

    Comment by Terri — January 8, 2010 @ 1:35 am | Reply

  2. Terri,

    I’m so glad that you found the information useful. I am still working at finding that balance. But I think this is a work in progress for all of us.


    Comment by zabowska — January 8, 2010 @ 2:32 am | Reply

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