The Never Ending Balancing Act: Structure versus Spontaneity

Change versus Spontaneity post

I’ve been thinking over the weekend about change. There are a lot of experts that advise you that change is good and that you shouldn’t be resistant to it. Then you have plenty of experts on the opposite end of the spectrum that say that setting deadlines is a good thing and that having structure and routine is something that can help stabilize someone’s life and help them to stay focused on the journey ahead of them.

I tend to lean more to the side of routine and structure, perhaps I lean a little too far in to it. It’s no secret to anyone who truly knows me that no matter how open I appear to be to change and spontaneity, I am extremely resistant to it. I’d like to say that I’ve only recently grown a barrier to the idea of change but I think I’ve always been this way since I was a little girl. I like knowing what’s going to happen, to know the way the day is going to go and precisely what I’ll be doing and when. That kind of structure pretty much guarantees the same outcome and while that may seem boring to some, it’s also safe. I guess the problem is that it may be a little too safe.

The odd thing is that the kind of life I’ve always dreamed of having for myself, since I was ten years old, could never be possible without embracing the idea of change and being spontaneous. There are a lot of things that I would change about my life and one of the things at the top of that list is my resistance to change itself, and my anxiety over the things that I do not know. So what is the right way to go about things?

Do you go with throwing caution to the wind and embracing every change that comes your way or do you plan and set deadlines and stick to a structure that helps keep you on track? I suppose that is what I struggle with because I want to be spontaneous and accept whatever changes may come my way but then I lose my balance and the shifts that begin to happen don’t allow me to stay focused and on track. Where is the middle ground on change versus structure? Is there a good balance between being overtly open to every changing scenario and still keeping enough structure to stay on course?

It’s easy for me to just say that structure is what works for me and leave it at that but if it was truly working then I would be where I want to be by now. Perhaps the very reason I haven’t reached that next level just yet is because I’m too afraid to reach out and grab the ledge above me because that means I would have to actually let go. To let go is scary. That means I have to trust what’s coming next, in an outcome that I can’t see.

Change is necessary to go to the next step on my journey and I know that but it’s hard to not know how things will turn out. So I guess the question is can I have structure and still fully open myself up to change or am I just going to keep holding on to the things that I already know. I don’t know how I truly feel about letting go of the structure that keeps me so grounded but I guess this year (my year of no excuses) will help me see just how open I can be.

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

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My Balance Is Still Off

Finding Balance 1

This week is almost over and while I have accomplished some things on my to do list for this week (okay maybe only one thing really), I have not done nearly enough towards what needs to be done. When I think about the fact that January is almost over and my novel hasn’t even been touched yet this month I shake my head at myself. True enough I had some things I needed to get out of the way promotion wise before working on my novel but then when I think about it, is that just an excuse.

I said that this was going to be the year that I probably sleep a lot less to achieve my tasks but I’m torn between my drive to succeed in my writing and my drive to get healthier and get my weight loss journey back on track which includes getting more sleep so that my body can be in the best position possible in order to lose the weight that I need to lose and gain more self-confidence and self-acceptance. It’s hard when I put it out there in writing like that because it’s either my dreams and my vision or my health and prolonging my life.

It seems like it would be an easy choice but it’s really not. I do find that when I’m healthier (and that includes getting the proper, or close to proper, amount of sleep) I do produce more in my writing and my creativity is at its best. However, then I see the people that I admire and look to for knowledge and know-how producing massive amount of product and their projects coming one, after another and you see the number one thing they practice is working into the wee hours of the night and getting a very minimal amount of sleep.

That is not me comparing myself to others (not really) because I know that I am not them but that is me acknowledging that to put out more work requires more time and that more time means less of something, typically sleep. I am still working out the balance to get the ball rolling here but I have yet to feel like I’m getting off to a good start. I almost feel like I didn’t start preparing for this year soon enough at the end of the last one. But how much preparation can you do before you should actually begin doing instead of just planning to do.

Balance and focus seem to be a continuing issue and it has to be figured out and quickly if I want this year to go the way that I want it to go. I’m still learning and while I know that there should never really a point in life that you stop learning, I feel like I’m too old to still be trying to figure it out. And yet, I still press on!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

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NaNoWriMo Day # 20: Have You Learned How to Balance and Weave?

It’s hard to find balance when you are trying to juggle so many tasks at once.  Writing a novel is not an easy task and when you take on the added pressure of participating in National Novel Writing Month and having to write every single day and write a specific amount of words just to meet one specific goal.

If you add to that the pressure of completing the other projects and tasks that you have to do that also concern your writing career such as keeping up with your blog, making that deadline for the novel or non-fiction book that you need to get to your editor, or the articles that you are being paid to write by a specific time, it can be extremely hard to find that balance to handle it all.  Here are a few suggestions on how you can balance your Novel and your other writing projects and weave them into one another, if you can.

1)      Separate your writing tasks and times over different days.  For instance, choose to work on your novel for NaNoWriMo at one time period of the day (in the morning or in the evening) and work on one of your other writing assignments in the opposite time period of the day.  If you have multiple tasks aside from your NaNoWriMo novel then split it up and do one task on one day and another on another day.

2)      If your main writing tasks aside from doing your NaNoWriMo novel is doing your blog then weave the two tasks together.  Blog about your NaNoWriMo experience.  Blog about your novel and how the process of writing your novel is going.  Blog about your characters and allow your readers to get to know them before your novel even gets published and comes out.  This will allow your blog posts to come a little easier to you while under the pressure of writing your novel and still keep you on course with maintaining your blog.

3)      Write your articles that have to be written about your experience of NaNoWriMo.  Write articles about your process of writing your novel.  Write the articles that you are submitting for payment about having to balance your novel with your other tasks of being a writer, a business person, and a parent.  These articles will not only come easier because you are living that experience but they won’t take too much extra thought process and research (that it would take to do the health related article you would normally be writing right now) which would be time taken away from writing your novel.

4)      If you honestly are not good at balancing the multiple writing tasks then focus on the novel and write notes regarding the other projects you need to work on in a notepad.  This allows you to focus on that novel, get it done, and still not lose the ideas that you have for your other projects.  That way when you are finished with NaNoWriMo and your novel you can immediately go implement the ideas and notes that you jotted down with your other projects.

I hope some of these suggestions help you keep that balance and get that novel done.  There’s only ten more days so hang in there.  You can do this!

 

Jimmetta Carpenter

Writer/Editor

The Diary: Succession of Lies (Now Available)

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