Productivity and Pleasure

How to Find Your Balance

“Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.”

— Joshua Osenga

It is great to be great, especially in the things that you enjoy. I am a writer, and since I chose this path, I can do what I really love. Today I can say that I savor the writing process. I adore the moments when the whole new world arose before my eyes, when I get familiar with my characters and listen to their stories. But before I started to enjoy writing, I had to find the right balance between productivity and pleasure.

The price of choice between productivity and pleasure

I started taking my writing seriously in 2018, and since then I did my best to be as productive as I could. I jumped in every single opportunity that I found — local writing courses, webinars, free classes, and endless online courses. I built a busy schedule, and I pushed myself to write even at the moments when I was exhausted.

As a result, after months of hard work, I was extremely overwhelmed. I noticed that when I wrote under pressure, my writing quality was far from good. I was so sick and tired of writing, that I wanted to do just one thing — to give up.

Then I took a break for the weekend to recharge myself. That Saturday I let myself sleep as much as I wanted, then I went for a walk. I walked along the park alley and breathed. The autumn air was fresh and invigorating. The red and golden leaves decorated the trees, and the sky was sapphire blue. And then, after seeing all of this, I had a natural feeling inside — the inspiration.

Needless to say, I had it before and I loved to be inspired naturally. But this approach didn't work always, and if I relied on inspiration only, my writing was more occasional. I couldn't just wait for the muse to come and place all my projects on my shelf. On the other hand, I was a human, not a writing machine.

This short episode became the twist in my attitude to myself and my work. I had to do something about my approach to writing, and I found an answer — success is in the right balance.

The benefits of the balance in my freelance work

All the writers have their unique flow of imagination. You can call it creative energy or just a brain work, but the essence of this idea is the same. Creativity flow is beyond our control. It becomes frail if we put too much pressure on ourselves, and it becomes rich and strong when we follow our flow.

Learning to listen to my writing flow was not an easy task. It was my main problem because I hate to go with the flow. I am a planner, organizer, and motivator, and when my writing mood was far from accomplishing my goals, I got stuck. I had writing blocks for weeks. I had low-quality writing and periods of no-writing. But when I learned how to work with this flow, things started changing.

I learned how to adjust my schedule and build it around my creativity flow. I let the flow take leading role. I set a goal, but I did it without strict limitations. It wasn't that complicated as I was afraid of. When I needed to write two articles for my blog, I just let my flow choose the subject and amount of words.

Every day we have different thoughts and problems that we keep in our heads. I found it easier to write about things that have occupied my mind today, not a week or two ago. I stopped putting pressure on myself and let my ideas find the way to be written. I stopped thinking how to please the reader and allowed my work to find my target audience. And it worked.

The benefits of the balance in fiction writing

Then I started working on my novel again. I already had a first draft of my debut novel that I wrote back in 2017, and I could never make myself start editing it. But since I changed my approach, I was excited to try again and prepare my book for publishing.

I gave myself two to three months to finish the second draft, and one more month to make the third round of editing. But I managed to finish all work within two months. I think I did it only because I let my creativity flow go freely.

Like a river, it filled the gaps that needed to be fixed first. The flow leaded me around the book, showed me the plot ending, beginning, and then got me back to the middle. I moved from the protagonists to the minor characters, and it was just right for this novel in terms of character developing.

My writing wasn't linear, which might not work for all writers, but worked just perfectly for me. I didn't force myself to move from the first chapter to the last one. Instead, I set a goal to write three chapters a week, and I let my flow choose which chapter I wanted to write. Thus, I jumped from the middle to the ending, then I got to the beginning again. I decided to write a prologue two days before my last chapter was done. This experience was amazing. It opened the doors to the world of my imagination and I just watched how perfectly the plot got build before my eyes.

Thus, since I had found the right balance, I became much more productive. The quality of my writing increased in a natural way. Today I can really enjoy what I'm doing. I can still control the process and set up the goals.

My golden formula of writer success

"Draw the shape and let your creativity flow fill it."

Yes, that’s it.

Whatever I was going to do — a blog article, a poem, or a new novel, this approach was always just perfect. I tried different ways of making myself to write. I used various of motivations, I read inspirational quotes, and did writing exercises to 'stretch my muscles'. Some of the tricks worked, some not. But none of them worked this way.

Now I enjoy my writing. I love to grow as a professional and complete my daily goals. It is possible to love your writing and be effective the same time. All you need is to find your own balance.

Thank you for reading!

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