have I gone mad?
I’m afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best person to ask for advice when it comes to balance, sanity, and managing the emotional highs and lows of a writing career. I exist in a constant state of madness and chaos, barely managing the roles of wife, mother, daughter, friend, and writer that life has thrown me. And though I’ve never been professionally diagnosed, I swear I’m ADD or ADHD, or whatever the terminology is to describe a person who cannot focus on a task for longer than two minutes.
In short, I’m a hot mess.
So how does someone with little to no control over the madness, manage her sanity?
I have no ever-loving clue.
What I can tell you, however, is how I manage to slip under most people’s crazy-radar.
REMEMBER LIFE EXISTS OUTSIDE OF WRITING (blasphemous, I know)
I volunteer at the school. I go for walks with neighbors. I accept invitations to friend’s barbeques and school award dinners. Yes, this takes up precious writing time. But being reminded that real people exist, is important for me. I can’t live in a fictional world all the time, and neither should you. Live life. Have fun. Then return to the page feeling refreshed and invigorated, knowing your reality check has been made and you’ve done your service to society by actually leaving your house. Wearing clothing upon your departure from said house, however, is optional. (Though highly encouraged.)
I am not a prolific writer. Nor am I verbose. My books rarely break 50K words, people. The idea of writing 1K words a day to meet that goal is sometimes an agonizing, acute and sheer form of torture for me. While some days those 1K words spill out in two hours, other days it takes until 9pm to eek in the last word. In order to prevent myself from going entirely mad, and to motivate me to hit my word count, I reward myself. It doesn’t have to be anything big. A square of chocolate will do. So too will a walk. A phone call break, wherein I talk to my very real (and not fictional) mother. A lunch date with friends. A volunteer opportunity. A yoga lesson. A pedicure. A You-Tube break. I have to DO SOMETHING to make sitting at the computer a pleasure and not a chore. I encourage you to do the same. Trust me, your inner crazy will thank you.
I keep trying to think of other ways to slay the crazy dragon, but they all come back to the two ideas above–in short, occasionally step away from the writing. I love being a writer (I swear I do), but engaging in other activities reminds me how much I like writing. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. After a break, I’m ready to return to my passion…and the madness. It’s what I do.
It’s what I love.