My “One Little Word” for 2018: BALANCE

In a Super Soul Session, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about hummingbirds and jackhammers. My friend Lisa is a hummingbird. I so admire her curiosity and willingness to try new things. Conversations with Lisa are like a feast as she tells me about the books she’s reading and the myriad activities she’s involved in. She, like a hummingbird, samples many of life’s rich experiences. Elizabeth Gilbert says hummingbirds are “cross-pollenating the world with their creativity and openness to new ideas.” A lovely image.

I am a jackhammer. I drill down, laser-focused on my passion—writing. Elizabeth Gilbert says the gift of the jackhammer is efficiency. She also says we are “obsessive, fundamentalist, and a little difficult. And loud.” Guilty as charged. When I am writing, hours can tick by without my notice. In my defense, when I climb into my characters’ world, I need some solid time for continuity. The down side is I neglect other things like exercise, meditation, housework, and just plain fun.

Elizabeth Gilbert sees value in both creatively exploring hummingbirds and intensely passionate jackhammers.

What I have realized is, as a jackhammer, I need to hummingbird more. When I’m working at my desk, I set the timer on my phone for thirty minutes to force myself to get up and do something—yoga, meditate, empty the dishwasher—something. It would work if I didn’t absently cancel the timer and continue writing. I need BALANCE.

When I was in college, I loved setting up my class schedule on a calendar, blocking out the hours of each class. I also worked part-time, so I would block out my work schedule. This gave me structure. Teaching was the perfect career for me because my day was dictated by my class schedule. I even had to use the restroom on schedule, usually at 55 minutes past the hour. And fast. Twenty minutes for lunch by the time I dismissed third hour and got back to my room for fourth hour. The interesting thing is, the busier my schedule, the more I accomplish.

Now, as a full-time writer, my day can stretch before me with no intentional plan except “write.” So, this year, I’m going to set up a schedule and block off time for writing, time for yoga, time for mediation, time for reading, time for exercise, even time for fun. If I write down a schedule, it’s like a contract with myself, and I’m more likely to pay attention to it. This, I hope will lead me to my “one little word” for 2018: BALANCE.

Unless, of course, I’m writing.

What is your “one little word” for 2018?

8 thoughts on “My “One Little Word” for 2018: BALANCE

  1. Ha! I don’t need balance so that my writing doesn’t eclipse everything else. I need better balance so that I’m writing more!!! I overdo TV, movies, jigsaw puzzles, sleeping . . .

    Though, like you, I do need to get up more from my desk when I am writing/working. I tend to sit there for hours not realizing the time. Hips lock up . . .

    Balance for me will be using my planner more so that it can provide that balance I’m looking for. Like you, I function best with schedules, but I prefer this loser schedule better. I just have to become less of a procrastinator and more of a doer, where I’m completing my writing to-do list(s).

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      I understand what you mean, Diana. My sister once said, “I have two speeds, fast forward and stop.” Yup, same here lol Wishing you balance and focus in 2018.

  2. Balance is a good word for all of us, but it’s not always easy to achieve. Sometimes life throws us off balance, our great plans go awry. I need to get more sleep, that would help me achieve balance. So is that my word? Sleep?

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Sleep is a good word, Maris. Nothing throws me out of balance like lack of sleep. I get fuzzy-brained and grumpy. Maybe your “one little word” could be “two little words” – enough sleep lol

  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    My one little word is Believe. Believe in my stories, and believe in the ability to let the characters tell their story.

    • Elizabeth Meyette says:

      Believe is a wonderful “one little word,” Lucy and a challenging one for writers. So often we doubt ourselves and listen to what others (the industry) say we should be doing. Believe is a word of self-empowerment and strength. I like your choice!

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