Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writing: Addiction, Discipline, or Balance?

Yesterday, wonder agent and master blogger Nathan Bransford asked, "When does writing become unhealthy?"

This is such a great question which can and should be used in many other circumstances (when does social media/email/drinking coffee become unhealthy?). But sticking to the writing, do any of you have a problem with balancing your life because of too much writing? For me it's a constant battle to get enough time to write. His question may apply most to workaholics, sociopaths, and people with addictive behavior issues. I am not one of those people, though I may have had tendencies in all three categories at one time or another.

Part of me still believes that you have to choose between your creative genius attaining success (which somehow ruins your relationships) and the mediocre creative life with modest or no recognition because you strive to balance your personal life. The rational me disagrees, because there are too many factors that go into success, and ruining your relationships doesn't exactly guarantee getting a book deal, unless your book is about how you ruined your relationship so you could get a book deal, THEN you might have some real takers.

Ultimately, logic applies. If you are getting ill from lack of sleep because you are writing: you're writing too much. If your relationships are suffering because of your writing, you need to make some choices (spouses and children are responsibilities, not electives). If the dog isn't getting enough exercise because of your writing: get out of the chair and do some character brainstorming while you take the dog for a walk! If the kids are complaining that you only spend time with keyboard, then turn off the computer for an hour and help them with homework, read them a book, or play a game.

Writing is an amazing part of my life, but it does not rule my life. I'm here for the whole experience, not just the deranged artist bit. Whether I end up a successful author or not is secondary to achieving a happy and satisfying life. What about you?

1 comment:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sounds to me that you have chosen a healthy side of this question. I should think that a balanced life gives a writer more to work with anyway. Glad to see you out-and-about in the blogosphere.