Who You Are Doesn’t Have to Be a Balancing Act

Cynthia Herron Writing 11 Comments

Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs/Creative Commons

There seems to be a taboo secret in the world of writing. We talk about it some, but not nearly enough. The words are whispered in the hushed halls of cyberspace, jotted privately in pretty journals, and texted in solitude to those who won’t judge.

What is the secret?

Shhhh. I can only tell you if you promise not to tell…

Writers are people, too.

That’s right. We’re living, breathing, pajama-wearing, chocolate-eating, coffee-drinking kinds of people who love our characters, craft, and life in the “odd lane.” We rarely keep “normal” hours. We think beyond the tangible. Sometimes, we’re perceived as weird, irrational, or difficult to understand. We think pencils are cool and fonts are king. We revel in silence, but glory in life.

Words amuse, stories excite, and imagery beckons. We see rainbows in the ordinary and we hope for the best. We understand there is more than meets the eye. We’re dramatic, creative, and vocal. We look forward to sharing. 

Sometimes, we’re transparent. 

We’re fallible and fallen.

And…

Often, we’re afraid. 

Of what? you might ask.

Well, of a lot of things. Public perception. Scaring folks away. Falling off the pedestal. Whether our real me is what folks want to see.

I have to admit, I struggled with this more when I was younger. (Not to say that reservations don’t still hack away at my self-confidence occasionally.) Perhaps, it’s a maturity thing, much like an adolescent’s transition to puberty, but I’ve come to accept the fact every one of us has “stuff.” There’s just no getting around that.

We have families to care for, crises that arise, fences to mend, meals to cook, and toilets to clean. In other words, life continues to happen.

It’s just how the pig eats the cabbage, so to speak.

As writers, I believe we should use sound judgment in what we share and how and when we share it. In other words, discretion depends upon the circumstance and the motive behind it.

Will what we say or do hurt, harm, or have a negative influence? Will it amuse, entertain, or add a smile to someone’s day? Will it encourage? Motivate? Inspire change?

Who we are doesn’t have to be a balancing act.

Who we are should be effortless–a seamless blending of tide to sand. If we live a life to please others and quench the essence of who we are, our breaths become like measured grains in the hourglass. Eventually, we grow weary under the weight of expectation. It’s unpredictable, unattractive, and tragic.

But…

Preventable.

Here’s my (not-so-perfect) method of remaining grounded:

  • Truth (with tact). If I’m having an off-day, you’re generally going to know it. I may not pitch a temper tantrum (that’s just not my way), but I’ll be direct with as much love as I can muster. It’s not necessary that I air every detail, though I may ask you to pray.
  • Encourage others. I’ve walked the valley. In fact, I’ve hobbled, crawled, and wallowed my way through it. Because of this, I want to minister to others who are hurting. I want to uplift and come alongside. Writing is my career, but serving people is my ministry.
  • Focus on the immediate. Long-term goals are important and I have tons of them, but this moment is what I have now. And it’s the “now moments” that can influence lifetimes.
  • Indulge in the silly. I love to laugh. At myself, with you, or even at the goofy guy brushing his teeth at the stoplight. Humor is a balm to the soul. It transitions me to a lighter state of being and I just love that feeling.
  • Eyes on Christ. For me, it all begins and ends with Jesus. This writing thing is a hard gig. Without a personal relationship with my Savior, I couldn’t do it. Knowing there’s something beyond my day-to-day writing life puts the cache of words in much-needed perspective.

******

How do you balance life?

Do you tend to overshare? Undershare?

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Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs/Creative Commons

Blessings Always, 

Comments 11

  1. Melissa Tagg

    How do I balance life? Verrrry carefully. 🙂 Haha…actually, it’s been a struggle in the past couple weeks. Mostly because whenever I start to feel like my schedule is controlling me rather than me controlling my schedule, I tend to get a little panicky. Which is super silly, I know. But I love your tip about staying in the moment and focusing on now. One day at a time, right? 🙂

  2. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Melissa: I think as writers we all struggle with our schedules from time to time. When we have a lot of irons in the fire, that’s when “balance” gets tricky. It’s good to be direct with people, I’ve found, and let them know what’s going on as we’re able. Takes some of the stress out of the equation and lightens the load. You’re doing awesome!
    ____________
    Lisa: We people-pleasers tend to put ourselves on the backburner, but habits can be broken–thankfully. Again, it’s all about “balance.” While we should strive to think of others first, sometimes, we have to take care of “us” before we can be a blessing to others. (And you’re a blessing to me.)

  3. Loree Huebner

    I have taken a few steps back from my online time the past few weeks. It has done my writing a world of good. Instead of turning on fb first thing, I open up my WIP instead. I have found that I can’t do it all – and afraid that everyone will find out.

    I’m trying to find the perfect balance between building my platform, and my precious writing time. It’s hard. I’m a social butterfly by heart. I love connecting with people, but I get caught up, and it takes a toll on my writing. I guess that would put me under the people pleaser column.

    Great tips on remaining grounded, Cindy!

  4. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Loree, “doing it all” is overrated. Managing our writing time, social media, AND our family takes work! And sometimes, to maintain the proper balance (so we can be effective at those) it’s necessary to take a break when we can. I’m right there with you, gal. I’ll be stepping back a bit myself soon. Sending you cyber hugs across the miles!

  5. Heather Day Gilbert

    Loved this one, Cynthia. I do tend to over-share–or rather, share on those “off” days. There are some days I tell my writer friends to remind me to SHUT MY MOUTH and not comment on any blogs that day, because I’m in a funk and the world looks bleak. It’s usually those days I’m checking email about 100x for news on my books. Which might be just about every day. HA! The good thing with writers is that we can support one another and give leeway to each other in those “funk” times.

  6. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Heather, you’re such a jewel. You’re one of the most supportive writer gals I know and I treasure you. I’m excited to see what God has in store for you!

  7. pattisj

    Please tell me you did not witness someone brushing their teeth while driving. On second thought, I don’t know if I want to know! I struggle with not keeping “normal” hours. Each day is a new day, and I try to get it right, but…

  8. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Patti, “normal” is overrated, huh? And yes. Teethbrushing is the least of what I’ve witnessed while out and about. Try these on: the man shaving, the lady reading a book AND plucking her eyebrows, and let’s not forget…my personal favorite…the teenage driver changing her blouse (in broad daylight) while coasting in a mall parking lot. 🙂

  9. Gabrielle Meyer

    I’m an over-sharer. Big time. I’ve had to learn how to curb my words, so I don’t walk away feeling like I opened my heart, spilled out its contents, and then didn’t receive anything in return from the person I shared with. As a writer, I love the delete button! Sometimes I wish I had one with my mouth. I’m a communicator by nature and that’s why I love to write. I can communicate to my heart’s content – and then edit out the things I really shouldn’t share. 🙂 Thank you for your words today, Cindy. It’s refreshing to know we’re not alone.

  10. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Gabe, we’re not meant to live in a bubble, and I think as writers we do have the tendency to write AND talk before we think…LOL! We’ve all been there, done that. I love your heart and the way you share with others. (I still smile every time I think about your “pat down” story at the airport you told at ACFW last year.) Ooops…was that supposed to be a secret? =)

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