It may not be obvious from the title, but my post today was inspired by the idea to "not put all your eggs in one basket." A little over a year ago, I signed my first publishing contract. As I navigated the new waters of publication, I also made efforts to increase my social media presence as an author, plus I was busy working on what I planned to be book 2 in my Tales of the Mystics series. Soon I tacked on a short story, then another short story, then a novella. And more marketing.
For a while, it was great. I felt so productive, and I had clearly found my "thing." I was juggling being an author and a stay-at-home mom, so how could I possibly have time for anything else? But eventually that mentality started to have a negative effect. Every spare moment that wasn't devoted to my family needed to go to something writing-related. If it didn't, I was wasting precious time. I placed huge importance on every marketing effort, and I got frustrated that even with dedicating as much time as I could to authorly activities, many others seemed to be doing so much more.
Does this sound unhealthy to you? It took a while, but finally I noticed how unbalanced my life had become. Sure, I was getting a lot done, but I wasn't getting enough sleep, I was feeling stressed and anxious a lot of the time, and I was having trouble enjoying any time spent relaxing, even when I was with my husband and sons.
So at the craziest possible time, in the midst of gearing up for my debut novel to release, I took a step back. I convinced myself that trimming down to two weekly posts on my author Facebook page would be sufficient. I allowed myself to take a break from writing new material and participating in my critique group when I had a long list of tasks to accomplish related to my blog tour and other marketing efforts. I refrained from signing up for every guest blogging opportunity I saw. I even joined a choir at my church.
And I'm so much happier for it! Some people can live and breathe writing, or whatever their chosen occupation happens to be, and there's nothing wrong with that. But I can't, and I need to accept that about myself. I hope writing and related author activities will be an important part of my life for many, many years to come, but it's not MY LIFE. Finding a better balance has helped me separate myself from my work a bit, which has resulted in less stress, more quality time with my family, and less concern about things like social media reach and negative reviews. I still stay up way too late many nights, and I still worry sometimes that I'm not doing enough, either in my writing life or everything outside it, but it's progress :)
How about you? Have you struggled to find balance in some aspect of your life? Do you have any tips for those of us who want to "do it all!" without being stressed?
Thanks for reading!