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Friday, October 30, 2009

October's Final Weekend

It's not possible. Simply not possible! October is almost over? Again? That means Thanksgiving and Christmas will be plowing through soon.

Aurora and the pumpkin
Photo by christina-t

Do you have any plans this festive weekend? Maybe a bit of trick-or-treating with the wee ones?A harvest party? Hike through a corn maze? Costume party? Or maybe you stay in and watch spooky movies?

It's also the weekend to celebrate the Protestant Reformation. Way back on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther stuck his 95 Theses to a church door at Wittenburg, in Saxony, Germany, thus paving the way for church reform. For more interesting facts about Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, here's a link to a fantastic article at Suite 101: Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy it and the weather holds out for you!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Writer's Time Poll Results

Last week, many of you participated in my poll. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer the questions.

I was thrilled to have twenty-five responses. Some of you gave more than one response to the question, so I based the percentages on the total number of responses. For instance, there were thirty answers given to question one. Rather than using twenty-five as the denominator, I used thirty for question one. The number of reponses per question is in parentheses next to each question. I did not include my own answers in the percentages, but you can see my responses in green at the end of each question.

Here are the results!

Writer's Time Poll

1. What time of day do you write? (30 responses)
37% (a) morning (11)
13% (b) afternoon (4)
10% (c) evening (3)
40% (d) Any time I can fit writing in (12)
Jill's answer: a

2. Would you prefer to write at a different time of day but your schedule doesn't allow it? (25)
36% (a) yes (9)
32% (b) no (8)
32% (c) sometimes (8)
Jill's answer: c

3. If you could write whenever you want to, what time of day would you pick? (27)
78% (a) morning (21)
19% (b) afternoon (5)
3% (c) evening (1)
Jill's answer: c

4. What do you aim for when writing? (26)
50% (a) A certain word count (13)
4% (b) A certain number of pages (1)
11% (c) A certain amount of time (3)
24% (d) No goals, just whatever comes out (6)
11% (e) other New category written in! (3)
Jill's answer: a

5. How often do you write? (25)
4% (a) 7 days a week (1)
60% (b) 4-6 days a week (15)
24% (c) 1-3 days a week (6)
8% (d) sporadically (2)
4% (e) all New category written in! (1)
Jill's answer: b

6. Would you like more time to write? (25)
80% (a) yes (20)
4% (b) no (1)
16% (c) sometimes (4)
Jill's answer: a

7. If you could ditch one of your biggest time commitments (like your full-time job) to gain more writing time, would you want to? I realize most of us can't ditch our big time commitments--it's just a fantasy question! (25)
64% (a) yes (16)
24% (b) no (6)
12% (c) maybe in the future (3)
Jill's answer: b

8. Is writing a top priority commitment in your life, meaning you'll give up other activities before you give up your writing time? (25)
60% (a) yes (15)
4% (b) no (1)
36% (c) sometimes (9)
Jill's answer: a

9. A genie offers you one thing to help your writing career. Of the following, which would you pick? (25)
36% (a) More time (9)
16% (b) More motivation (4)
44% (c) More skill (11)
4% (d) More ideas (1)
Jill's answer: a

Did the results surprise you? It didn't come as a shock that 80% of you want more time to write. It did come as a shock that 78% would pick mornings to write if you had the choice. I'm a night-owl at heart, although my life does not allow it. So I would pick night if I had all the freedom in the world!

The one clear message I got from this quiz is that all of you are dedicated to your writing. Whether you write in the morning or evening, one day a week or seven, you're devoted. Talk about inspiring!

Thank you so much for taking this quiz. I had fun making it up and really enjoyed tallying the diverse results!

Join me this Friday--the final Friday in October!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Finding Balance When Life's Upside Down

Although this month has been all about balance, I've purposely tip-toed around the Sasquatch in the room. I'm referring to the upside down economy. I've relied on the stability of the American economy almost my entire life, and the last few years have shaken one of my core feelings of safety.

I realize the economy is only one of the safety nets we rely on without thought, but it's a big one.

Head in the sand
Photo by trokair

This economy has affected almost everyone I know. Since I've recently read another blog describing how a spouse has lost a job, I feel compelled to address this topic.

How can we keep living our lives when one of our basic securities has been upset?

It's hard to meet basic needs when worried about money. Sleep becomes disrupted and elusive. You become tense and difficult to be around. No matter how many times you tell yourself it will all be fine and God will see you through, you can't help but wish times were better. That you didn't have to worry about things you may have never worried about before--like paying your mortgage, purchasing clothes for your kids, or having health insurance.

The hard part for many people is that there's no end in sight. Many have been dealing with reduced pay, reduced benefits, or worse, unemployment, for years now. And the old wisdom, move away to find a different job, doesn't work for people who live in a devastated local economy because they have no chance of selling their home even if they want to.

Look at this statistic: Of 913 home sales in Detroit in July, 2009, 802 of those were
foreclosures. That means only 12% of the homes sold were NOT foreclosures. I will not give the median price of these homes because it is too depressing. (Statistics from Money Magazine, November 2009.)

Here in Michigan, unemployment is at 15.3%--the worst in the country. (For a great article on the current unemployment situation, check out
Money.CNN.com: State Jobless Picture Brighten's a Little. ) Obviously, Michigan is affected by the big three automakers, but its housing, construction, and financial markets have been devastated also. And Michigan is by no means alone in this. Look at housing starts in Florida, Las Vegas, and Northern Virginia--we are talking about a collapse of an industry. And when one industry collapses, others are affected. Sorry for the analytical detour. Let's get back...

Life is easier to take when we know something is temporary. Skip restaurant meals for three months to pay down a credit card? No problem. Skimp on groceries for two months to buy Christmas presents? Piece of cake. But for those of you who have cut back on every area, still don't have enough money, and have no idea when you will--that's when life gets hard.

If you're in this boat, I want to reassure you that you are not alone. I'm very sorry you're having to deal with this right now. My heart goes out to anyone struggling to find a job, sell a house, or make ends meet. Do not feel for one minute that you are cosmically being singled out. All you have to do is talk to five random people on the street to realize the majority of people are struggling with the same issues you are.

If you or your spouse recently lost your job, or maybe your house went into foreclosure, please take a few minutes each day to support each other. You may feel as if you have nothing to give, but simple gestures add up to big results. A hug, a few minutes listening, or even a cup of coffee together can make the difference between feeling positive or feeling like the world is coming to an end.

Maybe this isn't the time to find balance. Maybe this is the time to do what you can to get through it. Be kind to yourself and your loved ones. Nothing lasts forever, including the hard times.

Join me on Wednesday for the results of last week's poll.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How to Unbalance Your Life

I've yammered on and on about balance. Here are my top tips to unbalance your life.

Accident is going to happen
Photo by gravestone


1. Say yes to everything!
Sew three costumes by this weekend? Sure!
You need eighty-five and a half cupcakes tomorrow? No problem!
Pick up Aunt Bertha from Tennessee even though I'm nine hours away? Will do!

2. Justify an Internet, videogame, Lifetime Television addiction as necessary
"Mom? We haven't eaten all week, we're hungry!"
"Hang on, I need to catch the end of "Mother, Run Away from Danger in the form of Tori Spelling."
"Honey? I haven't seen you in seven days. You alright?"
"Bowser isn't going to win Mario Kart himself--give me a minute!"
"Missy, it's Christmas morning. Aren't you gonna open presents?"
"Let me check Facebook one more time!"

3. Under no circumstances do anything nice for yourself
I could read one chapter... How dare you! When there's a pile of dishes in the sink.
I could go shopping with Jennie for an hour... Blast it woman! You don't deserve it.
I could listen to music and eat a scone... Or you could get your buns downstairs and pay bills.

4. Do everything for your family, even if they're capable and have time to do it themselves
Oh that Johnny. Tsk, tsk. Fourteen is too young to put clothes in the hamper...
Candy wrappers? On every step? Hmm... Must have been a candy bandit. I'll pick them up.
Gotta run! Drats. Garbage night. "Kids, don't get up from the couch--I'll take the trash out."

5. Procrastinate!

I really should write a few pages tonight. Right after I watch this rerun of Alf.
I could do a few sit-ups. But I ate three hours ago and it might upset my stomach.
The planets aligned and I have six hours to write! Or nap, or pick lint off my sweater, or...

Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Writer's Time Poll

Since I'm usually hunting for tips on managing my writing responsibilities with the rest of my life, I'm thrilled to have all of your brains to pick. Today, I want to know your secrets to making it all work.

Cornish time 2.0
Photo by crazyeddie

I've created a poll and if you are interested in taking it, you can leave your answers in the comments or, if you'd like to keep your answers private, you can e-mail me at jrkemer@charter.net. Any results e-mailed will be treated as confidential.

The results will be posted in percentages next week. Yes, I know many of you are gagging at the thought of a percentage-based results poll, but come on, I love crunching numbers!

Writer's Time Poll

1. What time of day do you write?

(a) morning
(b) afternoon
(c) evening
(d) Any time I can fit writing in

2. Would you prefer to write at a different time of day but your schedule doesn't allow it?

(a) yes
(b) no
(c) sometimes

3. If you could write whenever you want to, what time of day would you pick?

(a) morning
(b) afternoon
(c) evening

4. What do you aim for when writing?

(a) A certain word count
(b) A certain number of pages
(c) A certain amount of time
(d) No goals, just whatever comes out

5. How often do you write?

(a) 7 days a week
(b) 4-6 days a week
(c) 1-3 days a week
(d) sporadically

6. Would you like more time to write?

(a) yes
(b) no
(c) sometimes

7. If you could ditch one of your biggest time commitments (like your full-time job) to gain more writing time, would you want to? I realize most of us can't ditch our big time commitments--it's just a fantasy question!

(a) yes
(b) no
(c) maybe in the future

8. Is writing a top priority commitment in your life, meaning you'll give up other activities before you give up your writing time?

(a) yes
(b) no
(c) sometimes

9. A genie offers you one thing to help your writing career. Of the following, which would you pick?

(a) More time
(b) More motivation
(c) More skill
(d) More ideas

Thanks so much for participating in this poll! I'm always curious how other writers feel about these things. Watch next week for the results!

Join me on Friday for my tongue-in-cheek look at how to unbalance your life.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Patterns

I've always enjoyed patterns. I think it's fun to decipher a code or secret message. Even tangled necklaces are challenges I welcome. Most tangles take time and a degree of patience to unravel. Codes and secret messages rank higher on the excitement list. Patterns, though, are tricky. Why? I can't always see the pattern.

Pattern
Photo by chubbychandru

Take my schedule, for example. Life zooms along fine, and I feel confident and in charge. I can handle another commitment, so I add it. Then someone asks for something else, so I justify adding that too. And life continues until one day--wham! It all falls apart.

My confidence disappears. I realize my schedule no longer works. I'm rushed, tired, ornery, and no fun to be around. The meltdown could have been avoided, of course.

If I only would have noticed the pattern.

The pattern? Yes. You see, I add things--worthwhile things--to my schedule, but something has to drop off to accommodate them. What's the first thing to go? Any activity that makes me, and only me, happy.

Frivolous pursuits, time wasters, happy minutes puttering. They get dropped out of my life one by one until the joy is sucked out of each day and I snap.

It truly is a pattern.

Smooth sailing = schedule works and I make time for myself.
Gentle waves = schedule is adjusted to fit another need in, maybe a volunteer opportunity or another writing commitment.
Rough waters = schedule is crowded with things I've said "yes" to and there's no room left for mindless fun.
Shipwreck = schedule is so jam-packed, I no longer exercise, read, or do anything nice for myself.

I will probably always battle keeping the right ratio of should-do's with want-to-do's, but here is something I try to keep in mind.

I need cushions in my life. When I take fifteen minutes to leaf through a cookbook, spend a few hours at a museum, or waste six minutes reacquainting myself with the treasures in my top desk drawer, I'm telling myself that my needs are just as important as everyone else's. And that motivates me to do other things important to me, like write an extra page in my novel or walk twenty minutes on the treadmill.

If you don't treat your needs (no matter how silly they appear to others) as important, no one else will either.

What are your cushions? The little things you do that seem piddly and unnecessary but that actually support you?

If you don't have any cushions, do you resent it? Is there a way you could find ten minutes today to do something for yourself? I'm talking about something as small as doodling or listening to a favorite song.

Find ten minutes. Do something just for you!

Join me on Wednesday. I'm taking a poll and can't wait to read your answers!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Human Value of Social Networks

Do you ever feel guilty about the time you spend reading blogs, checking your own blog, logging into Facebook, or tweeting a post on Twitter? Do you think, I shouldn't be spending so much time online--I should be writing, cooking, playing with my kids, reading a book, and so on?

Amber taking over my laptop
Photo by ambhaims (Isn't this the cutest picture!! My cat does this too. Little stinker.)

I'm not going to discuss why social networks are good for your writing career (although I believe they are), but I do want to bring up an often overlooked aspect of social networks.

Online social networks fulfill a basic need.

Basic need? Yes. Humans have always had social networks in one way or another. The venue changes as time progresses. And we've been extremely creative in how we fit our craving for human contact into our busy lives.

Think about the following--yesteryear's tradition of afternoon tea in England, the American housewives' coffee cliques in the fifties and sixties, or even the watercooler in our current workplaces. We need to discuss the minutiae of our lives.

We need small talk on a daily basis.

I think that's the main reason Facebook and Twitter are currently so popular among adults and teenagers. Standing around gabbing is frowned upon in many businesses to make way for productivity. Stay at home mothers can no longer justify daily coffee gabfests, so we've renamed them playdates. Our kids need to socialize, right? (Yes! And we grown-ups do too.)

American society tends to disdain leisure. This attitude has seeped into our social lives. The only way we can rationalize taking a much-needed daily break is to check our online social networks at short intervals.

Facebook and Twitter have millions of users. They're obviously filling a need, and they're doing it well. I love that I'm finally keeping in touch with my college roommate and my cousins who live far away. Sure, it's only a few words here or there, but those words keep me connected.

What does this have to do with balance?

The more involved I've become with various social networks, the more time it takes to keep up with them. Facebook and Twitter do not take up much of my time but following blogs does. I know many of you struggle with this issue too.

How can we maintain our social networks without sacrificing a good portion of our day?

When one aspect of life begins edging out others, I often feel twinges of guilt. When that happens, I stop and listen. It's the same as when I've been eating too many brownies and not enough apples. My conscience is doing its job--protecting me.

For me, it boils down to one thing. Priorities.

My number one priority for my writing career is to finish books.

Since it only takes me twenty minutes to check e-mails, read my blog's comments, update my Facebook status, and post on Twitter, I start my day off with those. But I lose track of time when I'm reading blogs, so I don't allow myself to read any until I've met my daily word count or revision goal. I have to get my writing done during the day, so it's important for me to use the time wisely. However, we're all different, with different schedules and different tastes, so don't take this as advice. Your approach will depend on your life.

I've gone loosey-goosey in the past and read blogs first. Guess what? I lost so much time, I could barely make half of my word count. I recognize that my personality gets caught up in blogs. It's hard for me to set limits. That's why I write first.

Also, when you follow many, many blogs, it's difficult to keep track of them all. Google Reader helps, but I've taken steps to manage my blog reading in a different way. My goal is to hit each of my faves at least once a week. Since I consistently follow over fifty blogs, I've bookmarked the sites and divided them up into days. I have a Monday folder, Tuesday folder, and so on. Sometimes I have more time and can read them more than once a week, but if not, at least the blog's author knows I still care. (And for the record, I usually skip book reviews. My to-be-read pile is a nightmare as it is!)

What are your strategies for managing the blogs you follow? Or do you have Facebook or Twitter addiction you've taken steps to manage? I'd love to hear your tips! Even with my current system, I struggle sometimes.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Secondary Things We Balance

I've read many amusing posts lately about bad days. You know, the day when everything goes wrong; you have too much to do and no time to do it.

Chore Board - You Did It!
Photo by vox_efx

I think we tend to underestimate many things in our lives. We underestimate how much we spend on Christmas presents, how much we have in our checking accounts, how much our VISA bill adds up to. We underestimate how much of our day is spent eating and preparing meals. Even if we decide to pick up dinner in a drive-through, it takes time, maybe even twenty minutes.

We underestimate how much we eat. I had one smallish piece of cake, but I had three blueberries, and...wait a minute, half a bag of Doritos. How much is a serving size anyhow? Seventy-six chips? Well, than I'm good! Oh wait. Fifteen chips. Seriously?! Who can eat only fifteen chips?? Is it a serving for the Keebler Elf? I'll round down...

We underestimate how long it will take us to run an errand. How much time we spend commuting. How much time we spend watching television.

Then we feel guilty, angry, or defensive when we don't have enough money in our account, or we gain three pounds, or we're late for work. It's hard to balance when we don't have an accurate tally of what we're balancing.

Think of all the things you do in a day. You probably have the basics: sleeping, grooming, preparing meals, eating, driving, working, housecleaning, exercising, relaxing. But what about the other things that crop up? The occasional hair appointment, the long phone call to Mom, the pet explosion in the living room, the endless errands for piddly things, the lawn care, the purchase of gifts for every occasion, the pile of bills, the urge to dance a silly jig to a favorite tune.
Did that list exhaust you? We do so many things we never give ourselves credit for. Go ahead and pat yourself on the back for all you do. Today, you do not need to feel guilty about anything. You accomplished enough.

On a side note, the fabulous Angie Ledbetter of Gumbo Writer has invited us all to an open house. If you have a chance, stop by!

You are cordially invited to attend an "open house" beginning Wednesday, October 14, in honor of the newly renovated Rose &Thorn Journal.

Drop by, sign up for the newsletter, check out the new digs (and blog!), follow us on Twitter and Facebook, leave us your comments/thoughts, and wish us well.

Rose &Thorn is a quarterly literary journal featuring the voices of emerging and established authors, poets and artists. Now...go enjoy the open bar and appetizer spread!

Angie Ledbetter &Kathryn
MagendieCo-Editor/PublishersRose & Thorn
Journal

Join me on Friday when we'll discuss why social networks aren't just time wasters and how we can balance our use of them.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Upside to a Busy Life

I'd finished putting all the groceries away, started a batch of buttermilk biscuits, thrown a package of chicken breasts in the crock-pot, and had started placing a dozen eggs in a pan to hard boil when it occurred to me how fortunate I am.

Crusty Buttermilk Biscuits
Photo by galant

See, I've been thinking about balance a lot lately, and that particular morning had been rushed. Monday mornings always are. I'd been mentally lamenting all that I still needed to do. As flour poofed on me from stirring the biscuit batter, a memory of my deceased grandmother flashed to me.

I gained perspective in an instant. Didn't even have to think about it.

She would have loved to have my life.

Don't get me wrong, my grandmother was content, but I'd had enough discussions with her over the years to know she'd had dreams of her own but hadn't lived in a nourishing environment, probably hadn't even solidified her dreams. She'd been proud of her days as a working gal until she got married and had to quit. Then her life had sped by in a blur of babies, farm work, cooking, cleaning, and coping.

She'd never had the opportunities I have, and they wouldn't have been acceptable in her social circle regardless.

We live in an exciting time. A fast-paced time. An era where women and men are urged to go after their dreams.

I might have to balance household, family, and my career, but how blessed am I that I have the three to balance? A few generations ago, I probably would only have had two to balance.

Technology and progress have brought many downsides to life, including a fast pace, but they've also brought some wonderful things.

What are some of the blessings progress has brought to your life?

Join me on Wednesday when we'll discuss the endless list of things we balance.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Balance: Like the Food Pyramid

Balance does not mean giving equal time to each area in our lives. We all have oodles of obligations each day, but some tasks are done in fifteen minutes, whereas others require hours of our time.

Free Child Walking on White Round Spheres Balance Creative Commons
Photo by pinksherbet

How do we determine if we're allocating our time properly?

We could look at it as scales where one side is weighed with family, work, and free time and the other is weighed with writing tasks. But the two will never be equal, so I don't like that picture.

I think of it more as the Food Pyramid. Each layer represents what I spend my time doing. The bottom layer is where I spend the brunt of my hours. The layer above it would be my next biggest time commitment, and so on.

Everyone's bottom layer will be different. Look at how your hours fill up. Put the activity you spend the most time at (besides sleep!) in this slot. Examples: work full time, homeschool your children, volunteer every day, write full time, or if you're a student, attend classes and study.

The next layer? Maybe this is where you put your writing, spending time with family, volunteering, driving the family carpool, or household management.

The middle layer might be your free time or anything else you spend a good chunk of time at each day. It's easy to think we have no free time, but is that really true? I have a few hours every night,and I've learned to give my brain a break during them. No, those hours aren't productive, but they are free.

The top layers are smaller tasks. Housecleaning, paying bills, writing-related activities that aren't huge time-wasters, keeping in touch with loved ones, running errands, and socializing.

If you aren't sure where your writing fits, keep a log for a week on how much time you spend at every activity. A typical day might look something like this.

Monday: 1 hour--getting ready, 9 hours--work, 1 hour--chores/dinner, 1 hour--helping Johnny with homework, 30 minutes--writing, 2 hours--television/Internet.

Your pyramid would be: bottom layer--work, next layer--family/chores, middle layer--relaxation/television, top layer--writing.

By looking at this, you might think, "Oh, I only wrote for 30 minutes." But how much free time did you have? Two and a half hours. Thirty minutes is 20% of your free time.

Sure, your writing is the smallest chunk of your day, but you're still making progress. Could you really squeeze more in without having your brain explode? And would you want to? Blech!

By the way, I can hear you laughing at that schedule. Where's the trip to the grocery store to pick up food for dinner, the lost fifteen minutes looking for Johnny's permission slip, the "quick" call to Aunt Lucy that turned into a half hour, the smelly cat litter which begged to be cleaned, the traffic jam on the way home, and the seventy-three loads of laundry? I know, I know!

Try not to feel discouraged if your life isn't allocated the way you want. No one's life is ideal. We have to work with what we have to find our own right balance.

Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Moods and Balance

Have you ever felt uneasy about something--maybe an unexpected bill came in or a friend made a rude comment--and you suddenly decided your stomach was huge and you needed to start a diet immediately?

Come Back To Me Hand and Raindrops in Blue Creative Commons
Photo by pinksherbet

Our moods affect our actions. When I feel blue, I want the feeling to go away so I can feel happy. However, I can't always change what's causing me to feel down, so I fix something else--something I can control.

As an unpublished author, I've had some really great "up" periods. I can't remember ever searching for balance during those times. Yet, when a rejection tosses me to the ground and presses its knee into on my back, I look anywhere but at the beast sitting there. I instantly try to fix my unpublished state by blaming it on lack of balance.

If I promote my blog more, get another craft book, spend less time doing this, more time doing that, write faster, write slower, get some publishing credits, find an agent...

These thoughts only distract me from reality: I'm not published yet and don't know when I will be. But I convince myself that if I can balance my life just so, all of my dreams will come true.

I think we all know what a big, fat lie that is!

Some writers spend hours and hours every day writing. Some writers spend one hour every day writing. Yet both are published. Some writers have blogs; some do not. Yet both are selling their books. Some writers have extensive family obligations. Others have extensive work obligations. These writers have found a balance that works for them.

We must too. Maybe what we're doing right now is exactly what we're supposed to be doing. Isn't that a comforting thought?

Do you ever try to fix the wrong problem when you're in a blue mood?

Join me on Friday when we'll discuss how balance is like the food pyramid.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Are We Mistaking Balance for Perfection?

Whenever I see a blog post about balance, I rub my hands in anticipation and devour the words. I guess I'm hoping someone has the secret to it--the secret to finding balance. I want a magic formula. Something like: if I spend X amount of time on W, Y, and Z, life somehow will fall into place just the way I want it.

Horses grazing at sunset.
Photo by efleming

Maybe there is an intricate equation, and maybe there isn't.

It makes me wonder if I'm not saying one thing and meaning another. Aren't I really saying, I want life to be perfect? Except it sounds better as "I want to find balance."

Is there anything wrong with desiring perfection? No. But perfection on earth isn't possible. Even if I excavated a magical equation to find balance, I could not maintain it every day. I couldn't. No one can.

One of the reasons I read the Bible every day is because I need to hear not only am I not perfect, I don't have to be. God loves me just the way I am, flaws and all. In fact, that's why he sent His Son to die for me--so I don't have to be perfect.

Don't get me wrong, finding balance in our lives is a noble pursuit. If I'm wasting all of my free time and it's hurting my family, I'm glad my conscience kicks in. But if I've written all morning and met my daily goals, I refuse to feel guilty for spending an hour reading my friends' blogs. That's misplaced guilt--and I don't have room in my life for it.

What do you think? Are we too hard on ourselves? Do we unintentionally strive for perfection in the name of finding balance?

Join me on Wednesday when we'll discuss how our moods affect our life's balance.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October: Balance? Is It Possible?

Ahh...October. Harvest time. Cider time. Curl up on the couch with a good book time.

Pumpkin Nestled in Fall Leaves
Photo by lynnylu

This month we're going to be discussing balance. Is it even possible? I'm not sure, but I constantly strive to not let one aspect of my life overcrowd the others. I'm not always successful. It's hard.

I'm hoping this month we can celebrate our successes finding balance and also moan about our less than successful efforts. Some of the posts will challenge the idea of balance, while others will give tips on managing our time wisely.

I'm also hoping we can share strategies to better balance our writing with our family, hobbies, exercise, and the million other things we juggle every single day.

Have a terrific weekend and join me on Monday to get this discussion started!