Balancing Writing and Living

"I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can't truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles."-Zig Ziglar

Over the last few years I've matured quite a bit. This isn't to say I don't have a lot more growing up to do (because I do, trust me!!). But I'm learning what it means to actually LIVE life. I mentioned in the previous post that I was only sticking to two goals for 2013 so I wouldn't stress myself out. Let me explain that decision:
When I decided to take writing seriously a few years ago, I was more focused on blogging. Everywhere you looked, there were posts and articles about the "secrets of successful bloggers". I had been blogging successfully already since 2005, but when 2009 came rolling around, I threw out all of my knowledge from experience and started focusing on making money from blogging based on what the experts were saying. From there, I also started focusing on writing for money as well.
Big mistake.
In my experience, any time you take a creative thing that you love and try to force it to make a profit (painting, music, writing, etc.), it's going to backfire. In one of my favorite books, Boss Lady by OmarTyree, his main character Tracey reminisces, 'And those who create for the love of ART are CONSISTENTLY getting better, but those who create for the love of money...those guys are forever getting worse.'
I had to learn that the hard way.
I threw out passion and went with writing what sold. I started cooking/lifestyle blogs even though I had nothing to say about those topics. I tried writing personal finance, even though I was still trying to fine tune my own personal finance. I tried freelance writing but  I wasn't committed enough. Each time I failed and became more discouraged. But much like dieting, instead of taking a step back and reevaluating why I was failing, I just blindly jumped back on the bandwagon and hoped the next time would be different.
It wasn't.
I was stressed and stretched too thin. On top of being 1000% focused on different writing goals, I was also trying to get healthier and have more of a social/personal life. Needless to say, I was failing in those arenas too.
The situation reached a boiling point when I stopped writing a few months ago. I stopped working on The Two Worlds, stopped blogging, stopped writing articles. I was sick of writing and was seriously thinking of giving it up. What was the point? I was beginning to hate the whole act of creating.
That mental break was the best thing that I could have done, whether I knew it at the time or not. It gave me time to recharge my batteries and think long and hard about what I wanted to do with myself. I toyed with other career venues (such as being an archivist), but kept coming back to writing fiction. And so, I decided to pick back up my pen and get to writing characters the way I wanted to, not the way the experts were telling me.
I'm still learning, of course. Writing faster and more efficiently, editing with more accuracy, and marketing are all areas that need improvement. But I'm not killing myself to get there. That comes with time, not a hundred goals per month.
This new attitude has just recently spilled over into other aspects of my life--such as working out (I was trying to go from having two knee injuries to running in a race within a very short time and it wasn't working) and my personal finances (I'm 25 years old, not going to be a millionaire anytime soon!).
I'm just trying to live for life, not for goals or to-do lists. And this type of thinking is inspiring me in more ways that I ever would have imagined.

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