trying to balance it all out.

pic from here.

i’m a libra. not that i’m into astrology. but, i know what sign i am, and i’ve read a few times in life the “characteristics” of a libra. and it sounds exactly like me.

  • mellow. lovers of beauty and harmony. diplomatic. optimistic. emotional. empathetic. idealistic. desire unity. artistic. fair.
  • impatience of criticism. frivolous. escapist. impatient with routine. can be seen as lazy by others. are sometimes elitist in their thoughts (though they may not show it). inconsistent.Β 

one thing i seem to be chasing throughout my life is balance – a classic libra trait. i’m desperately seeking for things to be balanced and harmonious within myself & my life. but, i don’t think i’m totally successful in achieving that balance and harmony. it may look like i’m all balanced and peaceful on the outside, but inside i am always shifting from being too busy & forgetting about taking time to breathe, to breathing and being so much that i forget to live. it’s a vicious cycle. and i overanalyze it too much, i think. hence, this blog post. hehe.

on the other hand, it’s not that i just seek to be balanced, i actually feel better, more like myself, when i live life as my soul longs for me to live.

right now i am working full-time, which means that i am tired. and drained. and, while the work i am doing is something that is meaningful and requires me to reflect, write, and just be (things that are right up my alley & help me stay balanced), there is something that keeps me from writing the things that are in my soul. let me explain… i want to write my book. i want to write on my blog and be creative, but i just can’t seem to get it done when i am busy with work – even when it’s work that i enjoy. in the evenings, i just want to veg out and then go to sleep. in the mornings (when i work in the afternoon/evenings), i am not motivated.

of course i have to work, because i have not yet published my best-selling memoir yet (positive thinking!). but, how do i get my book written or my blog to grow to the point where i can make money through it and hold down a job at the same time? sounds like a stupid question, i think. plenty of people do it. but, i can’t seem to figure it out. and if there’s one thing i’ve learned about myself while living here in sweden, it is that i am meant to write. and mentor. and now i am determined to do just that. i just can’t figure out how.

another thing about me is that i am not a go-getter. just being honest. i need discipline and routine and deadlines in order to get things done. but i crave free-spiritedness and carefree days. i need both order and spontaneity. i am dreaming of the day when my work is to write, meet people, and create. i imagine a little cabin in the woods, or a little room in my apartment, or a small office space in a downtown loft. a place i go to every day. to do all my writing, photographing, meeting, and philosophizing. then, i can create my own disciplined schedule. right now, my days are completely different from one another. and that is truly a gift. never boring. and i’m not complaining about the freedom that i have with my current schedule. but, it’s not so great for someone who is not self-disciplined. gaaahh. what a crazy conundrum.

so, i know i’m thinking a lot about future things right now, what i wish i could do, how i wish i could live. and i need to focus on today. right now. creating the life that i want right here where i am. in the midst of the beautiful life that i have been given. figuring out how to work and write. how to breathe & pull away, and how to stay engaged & involved. ’cause so far i’ve not been good at that. at least that’s how i feel today.

i need to find the balance. or i need to feel balanced.

the thing is, i think i require more alone time, more down time, more time to breathe, more yoga, more nature, more time in my head and with my fingers clicking on a keyboard than i have. or perhaps i have it, but i require more than other people. or perhaps i’m just bad at doing it. i am an introvert. a quiet, thinking, being kind of person. i crave time at home & with my family. i enjoy being with a few friends. i love coffee chats and cozy evenings at home. at the same time, i love to travel and experience new things. and do you know what? even though i know and accept these things about myself, even though i know from deep within that living my life in a slow, contemplative, determined, alternative, artistic, spiritual way makes me a better person (and therefore better for others & for the world), i still find myself feeling guilt at times. guilty for not being like others. and yet, satisfied that i am exactly who i am.

so, my question to all of you is…

how do you do it? how do you writers find the time to write and work? am i really that undisciplined and unmotivated? am i a poor writer before i even begin? i doubt myself because i think, if i really wanted it, then i would make time to do it. all the time. what’s wrong with me? and how do i achieve the balance that i am so desperately looking for? how do you stay balanced?

any advice would be so greatly appreciated. ’cause i trust and appreciate y’all.

peace and love.

0 thoughts on “trying to balance it all out.

  1. I would not say I am a writer, but I would second the lack of motivation to be productive in other things when I am working full time. I have noticed a big difference in my life in the past 7 months since I have gone from 32 to 40 hours per week. One would not think it should matter so much, but it does. I have found that I can motivate myself to quilt, for what it’s worth! I am looking forward to more warmth and daylight (and no ice) to help me get in all the walking I need to keep myself balanced πŸ™‚

  2. Wow, Liz. I feel like I could have written this exact same thing – I’m also a Libra and I’ve also been thinking some of these same thoughts. Mostly about my productivity, and what kind of work and life balance I need to feel happy with both; how to achieve happiness and success and make my dreams come true, without draining myself and losing that free/down time that I crave (need?). Are all of us Libras undisciplined and unmotivated?! Just kidding, I don’t think we are at all…maybe we just beat ourselves up about it more?

    I read something to the affect of, work for 45 minutes, break for 15, and then do it again until your tasks are done. That works pretty well for me when I actually stick to it. It’s harder to over think when you’re just doing what you want to get done πŸ˜‰

    1. such a great idea! i am at work today, so i’m gonna give it a try.

      and i am certainly glad that i’m not alone in the libra world of unsettledness and balance. πŸ™‚

  3. For me, it comes down to prioritising and saying no. I have to decide what day I’m going to take, away from everything and everyone else, and promise myself that day. And I have to say no to people who ask if I can help with…whatever. Gently, sweetly, say no. Because it’s my day, and I have to keep it that way. Even if it means an hour in a coffee house, or in the bath. I carve out that bit of time to at least do a little bit. It may not be much, but at least I’ll have gotten some words down.

    For me, balance means actively deciding what is most important at the moment, and putting the rest on the backburner.

    And of course, be gentle with yourself–balance is an elusive animal. πŸ™‚

    1. i was waiting for your comment! πŸ™‚ you are a writer i have grown to admire, so i couldn’t wait for your wise words from your experiences.

      i have a really hard time saying no sometimes. i feel soooo freaking guilty for wanting a day to myself. to unplug. and write. or whatever i need to just be. i am going to try. really try. and perhaps i will take it in little steps, like an hour a day. i’m so bad at taking care of myself.

      thank you so much for sharing your thoughts! xo

  4. I’m a singer, not a writer, but I deal with the same issues. I’m surprised at how much alone time I need, and I’m also surprised at how a very few deep relationships matter more to me than I expected. I went from working half time to working full time – for someone else, that is – recently. The paycheck and insurance are both very nice. The drain on my energy and emotional reserves is surprising. And I need alone time and time with just a few people I care deeply for. It seems like those are basic needs on the level of food and shelter and clothing. If I don’t get those needs met, I’m struggling for creativity.

    1. i am soooo relieved to hear that there are others like me. yes! i understand exactly what you are saying. we have to get our own time, we have to embrace our desire for deep meaning in our lives, otherwise we are unfulfilled and unhappy, and that does nothing for making a different to other people. xo

  5. You’re a writer, don’t doubt yourself! It sounds like the reason you are struggling to find balance is because you are seriously thinking of writing professionally, and since you have never been a professional writer before, being rattled about your schedule would be part of the natural course of things. Once you get in your groove the words will flow πŸ™‚

    My dream of being a writer has been a huge factor in what jobs I’ve been applying for. I don’t think I could handle a professional job AND do writing on the side. That’s why I’m looking toward serving/bartending. I feel like meeting other people and the movement and socializing will fuel my writing and balance the sedentary/introverted nature of the work.

    My goal was to write every day for an hour this year no matter how inspired I feel. I’d like to keep up with that once I start working. Right now my mind is too cluttered with decisions though. So yeah, I guess I am having the same sort of trouble you are having. lol.

    1. you are soooo right! and i have a chance to follow my dreams when we move back to the states in a few months. i think i’m scared. i know the temptation to take just a job so i can pay the bills and take care of practical things. so, i want to ind a job that allows me to grow into the professional writer i want to be.

      but, all that practical shit is screaming at me. i gotta make money. and enough that we can live and enjoy life somewhat.

      a goal to write every day would be nice. i should begin there. an hour a day. no matter what. i gotta get it done! thanks for your inspiration! xo

      1. I totally get it.. my mind has been at war with itself over the same thing. I wish I could just work at a coffee shop but I got bills to pay and don’t want to be a starving artist.

  6. Hugs Liz — me too!

    I give myself permission to just veg — and then, I give myself permission to just do — to write, to create, to do what I know brings more joy in my life. Sometimes, I opt for the ‘not to do’, but I know, that even a small thing, like tidying my office, sets me in motion to do — so, I get to it πŸ™‚

    it is hard when you’re working to balance it all. I think some of it comes with the choices we make. I know one man, a psychologist, professor, author who writes everyday, even when he’s on the road travelling and presenting his courses/workshops/lectures. It means, he won’t go out for dinner, or he gets up early, but he does it. He now has 11 books published….

    I think it is the self-discipline, and the vision to do what it takes, the Be. Do. Have. that makes the biggest difference.


    1. ok. i’m seeing a theme here. make a goal. commit to it. and just write. everyday. for a little while. i gotta get me some of that self-discipline. πŸ™‚

      thanks for your comment! it is greatly appreciated!

  7. Hi Liz,

    I will share something that really help me get started, start doing things in tiny little snippets. It was when I was trying to finish up my degree, when dealing with a lot of health and mental health issues that worsened. I would try to make myself do an hour of studying at a time. But that much of an amount of time was just too overwhelming to do after days of not being able to. So I made up a rule that I only had to study or read the textbook for 15 minutes and then could relax for 45. Gradually I could study for longer and longer, and made sure that I took breaks often so that I did not get overwhelmed and did not end up with more pain and more health issues due to sitting in one place with my head bent and my body aching. That was how I was able to finish up the last 18 months of my double major degree.

    I had remembered something that I had read by Barbara Sher, she is a motivational speaker and writer about figuring out what you want, breaking it down into smaller pieces, and start doing little things that get you moving towards your bigger goals.

    The book of hers that I would really recommend, because it really helps break down this process is I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It.

    There might be some parts of the book that you will want to skip, but I think this book would be able to help you get some ideas.

    The other thing that I have gotten from lots and lots of people in the last five years is about weight loss and that is this; everyone is unique, find what works for you, if you think you fail, you know another thing that won’t work for you, and can try something else. I do this approach with weight loss and with healing from childhood abuse. I alter, I create, I change things around, I don’t have to change to get to where I want to go, the need to alter other things around me to make it easier for me to be the way that I am and for me to achieve what I want, hey that is also a Barbara Sher principle.

    She says, I think, in each of her books that you don’t have to change to accomplish things, you need to figure out how to make it easier for you to do the things you want to do, so that your natural tendencies and qualities are used to help you accomplish things by figuring out in advance your strengths, your weaknesses and figuring out a manageable way to accomplish small tasks that lead you on the goal to the larger goals.

    The other thing that I have gotten from writers recently is that they use a notebook for weeks, sometimes months, to plan in advance. I have realized recently when watching an interview with J.K. Rowling that this is something she did and it really clicked in my mind that other writers do that as well. I often have to write down a note about a blog idea when I am out so that I don’t forget it. I don’t use a small notebook, but I really want to start doing that. I notice that I am much more productive if I use notes in order to get things done. I think you are trying to take too big of a bite out of a project at a time and get overwhelmed and that too is something Barbara Sher talks and writes about a lot. A notebook on writing your memoir might be a good beginning. The writers that I am referring to, several I have seen on TV, and one who taught a memoir writer class I took, felt that it was important to do a lot of research, gather information, and then once full up with all the information, to write. If this isn’t at all helpful, perhaps it can give you another idea of a different way to approach this.

    Also it takes a while to adjust to part time to full time. It is okay to give yourself a couple of more weeks of personal recovery time.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


    1. kate, this is such an AMAZING comment, i have to read it and re-read it over and over! so much great information. i have checked out the book you linked and i am intrigued!

      thank you so much for sharing all of your thoughts and ideas! i have an awesome new notebook, so i think i may begin there!

      peace and love to you, dear friend.

      1. Hi Liz,

        I forgot to write that it is definitely true that you are a writer, definitely.

        I also wanted to mention The Artist Way by Julia Cameron, it’s great for writing. Have you ever read her book or did the book as a project? I haven’t, but I know that sometimes you can find a group and they do the book together and give each other lots of support in their creative efforts. Perhaps after you move you could look to see if there is a group where you will be living? Or start one of your own?

        Good and healing thoughts to you.


      2. I mean I have read the book, I just haven’t done it as a project with others, which is supposed to be a great experience. Kate

  8. Now I know why I often feel like you’re putting my exact thoughts into words on your blog: I’m a libra, too! πŸ˜‰ I’ve been struggling a lot to keep my life in balance lately since I kinda feel stuck in a job that just doesn’t fit me anymore and I’m trying to make time to work on my real dream in a 40+ hour work week. What does help my is to make lists of things I wanna do or work on and to just focus on one thing at the time, then move on to the next when one is finished.

    1. omg. are we in the exact same place or what?! i am gonna make a list in my new notebook and set aside time every day to write. these are the conclusions i am coming to, thanks to all of these great comments.

      thank you for being someone who i know is out there chasing her dreams as hard as i am! i wish you all of the luck and peace in the world!! xo

  9. Liz, I am about to publish a post on this topic, too. To me it also remains a mystery on how some people do it (especially you, but now that you are struggling, I totally understand). I used to have a lot of downtime at my job so that I just wrote blog posts then and also parts of my book. Now I don’t have time for ANYTHING. I am happy to write one post a week. My diary is completely neglected. And that book I wanted to publish about “1 year in New York”? Nothing. Maybe 20 pages written. It’s frustrating, and it really pisses me off.

    On top of this I try to maintain a social life and photography. So I am busy to keep everything handled right. You either have to cut down sleep or prioritize differently…. πŸ˜‰ For me, New York is a distraction by itself and I am happy that I even have a blog. Sorry, no tips today. But great post!

    1. hehe. yes, i am human. and i am struggling. big time. but, i am so glad to have some company and to know that i am not alone.

      i imagine that nyc is a HUGE distraction! how you get anything done is beyond me. πŸ™‚

  10. I think I was born two and a bit months too early! – or maybe you’re just my sister and we’re two of a kind :(I’m flattering myself with the association! πŸ™‚ ).

    Honestly, though, I’m always amazed and impressed about how often you do find time to write. This blog is regularly updated. What I want to know is how do you push on through the creative voids…? …when life gets in the way for whatever reason… do you have lots lined up, ready to publish? I’ve hit a bit of an empty and its not for lack of adventures.

    Thanks for your open discussion and for providing some food for reflection.

    1. i love having a kindred spirit!! it makes life feel so full and amazing, and reminds me how we are all connected.

      lately, if i am honest, i am not feeling much inspiration. i think i am drained. overwhelmed. out of balance ;). it’s not for lack of inspiration/adventure in my life either. i totally understand what you mean!

      when i can’t create something myself, i post things that inspire me – sometimes that’s just what i need to get myself back on track. i also allow myself the freedom to post longer writings and shorter writings and sometimes only photos. i mix it up so i don’t get bored or feel too much pressure to put some great essay out on a daily basis. i do not schedule posts ahead very often, so i actually do post on a daily basis (almost). it’s something i need and want to do for myself.

      good luck on getting your mojo back! sending you hugs of inspiration! xo

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