The endless responsibilities of writing can tug a person in every direction.
The further you delve into your career, the more your tasks multiply as you realize the seemingly endless skills needed to learn about, write, edit and market your project.
With all these tasks comes the blurring of the world around you. Days turn into weeks, weeks to months, and months to years; nothing stops the commotion.
Writing has become tedious, a drain on your energy. You might begin wondering: Where’s the pause button?
Unfortunately, when responsibilities abound, life speeds up and time passes you by.
A passion like writing shouldn’t blur your experiences; rather it should allow for your life to become more fulfilling and complete. Instead of tiring you, writing should energize your spirit and enrich your mind.
Then why does writing seem to further clutter your life and send your head spinning in all directions? Because you make it that way.
Not through long term goals or the planning that goes into your desired livelihood, but through the small things of life that you neglect to notice or address.
The small tendencies that make you stressed, confused and inefficient are the same tendencies that thrust you quickly through a writing race, instead of taking on the adventure one step at a time.
The Benefits of Pausing
Giving yourself the opportunity to pause time and enjoy your surroundings is important, and provides four key benefits that enhance your writing life:
- Clarity – To prioritize which tasks must be done now and which can be tackled later.
- Nourishment – Food, water, exercise and human interaction allow for efficient work and an energetic outlook on life.
- Reflection – You are learning all the time, but you need time to what you’re learning in order to make rational decisions on how to use it.
- Self-fulfillment – Sometimes you need to pat yourself on the back to appreciate a job well done. Enjoying a victory reminds you of what success feels like and encourages you to achieve your next goal.
Ways to Activate the Pause Button
So where is the pause (or slow-motion) button in your life? Luckily, the solution is simple. All it needs is a few small changes to your everyday habits.
1. Eat your meals
Don’t work and eat. The most productive workers are physically and mentally rested, and properly nourished.
Shutting down your work space helps you clear your mind.
Take each bite slowly to indulge yourself in the taste and aroma of your meal. Doing this will also help you add sensory details to your writing!
2. Shut down the electronics
Electronics pull your attention in different directions all day long.
In the morning, most people check their phone before they even get out of bed. The barrage of media each day can be dizzying.
Place your phone, computer, tablet and whatever other devices you may have in another room, close the door and look around. The lack of connection to the world will initially make you feel naked.
Challenge yourself to think of something else to occupy your time for an hour. Think about activities that were fun before electronics demanded every second of your attention. Walk around outside, play a board game with friends and family or exercise.
You will come back to writing refreshed by your break.
3. Change a few things
I realized an unfortunate truth during my first job out of college: the days were unbearably long, but the months and years disappeared.
Why is this? Because with no change, when you look back, the months and years blend together.
When nothing changes in your life, memories aren’t created and your life flies past you.
- Change the route to work or your morning jog.
- Try a different recipe.
- Read a book in a genre you’ve never tried.
- Play a new game.
- Go to a new place.
Change energizes us. It makes people and events stand out because it pauses the humdrum routine of life.
4. Soak in your surroundings
Wherever you are, be there.
At dinner, pay attention to who is saying what. Taste your food, savor its aroma.
While jogging, notice what people are wearing, doing, saying as you go past them. Notice the path and the scenery.
Becoming a keen observer of the human experience allows you to appreciate your life more fully and notice the details about people’s moods, tendencies and experiences. This is great for character building!
5. Appreciate more with less
Clean out your closet and give away the clothes you no longer need.
Think about selling old electronics or furniture that take up space.
Ask yourself how many times you throw food away because it has gone bad. The next time, only buy as much as you can use.
The incessant clutter in little areas of life builds tension, causing your mind to run quicker and time to speed up. Clean out the extra items to see and breathe clearly.
6. Stop thinking about tomorrow
You might have a deadline, a presentation, a submission for a project or even an exciting event coming up, and that’s all you can think about. You can’t wait for it to be here.
Always wishing for tomorrow is like wishing away your whole life.
Think about how you can make your current situation more fun and stop looking to the future.
The problem is, every deadline will pass, and after that deadline another will roll around. If you keep stressing or anticipating future events, your life will fly right by you.
7. Use your vacation days
Never let your vacation days go to waste. You work hard. You deserve the time off.
Also, refrain from taking half days off. Take the full day. Going into work for a half day is still going into work. You still undergo the stress, still see the same people and still do the same work.
It’s human nature to entangle yourself into a web of tasks and responsibilities.
But you can hit that pause button. All you need to do is take a deep breath and focus on changing the little things to slow down your hectic writing life.
What helps you halt the chaos of your writing life? Post in the comments!
About the author:
Joe Warnimont (@writewithwarnie) is a marketing professional and writing enthusiast. He blogs at writewithwarnimont.com, a blog about writing, marketing, living truthfully and embracing your life through creativity. Grab his free eBook, Create Your Writing Adventure.
Image: Hectic Life courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com