Writing is super time-consuming. It requires that we become hermits for days, sitting in our rooms, pounding on our keys, having to order crappy Pizza Hut pizza. We have to ignore phone calls and decline friends’ invites to go somewhere. But do we really have to do any of this, or are we so inundated with the myth that in order to be a successful writer, we must write ALL THE TIME?
It’s tempting to drown yourself in writing because you have this goal and in order to meet that goal, you have to write a lot. But it also becomes a very lonely life, and I think that loneliness will eventually muddle your writing because you’re not living anymore: you’re simply existing in this sphere of writing that prevents you from obtaining any life experience that can add spice to your writing.
Two summers ago my dad told me I needed to do something else besides write, and he was right, is right, and always will be right. That’s where ballet came in for me. Through ballet I gained confidence, learned something new, met new people, and lived another life that I never saw myself living even just three years ago. Ballet confirmed for me that I really can do anything I put my mind to, and so this translated over to my writing life. If I can do ballet, probably the most difficult dance/sport in the world, then I can sure as heck write a great book worthy of being read by my growing fan base.
Ballet is the balance in my life. When I am doing ballet, I am not thinking about writing, or actually writing, or doing anything writing related, so this prevents writing burnout. You can become burned out on anything, but by having ballet in my life, I find balance between everything that I do. It also gives me another passion, more life experience, and helps me feel alive so that way my writing life has more energy in it. Plus, it keeps me in shape.
We writers need to do more besides writing because writing does get to a point where it starts to feel like work. Yesterday writing felt like work to me, and I knew I was getting burned out on writing, so I had to stop for the day to prevent total burnout. I went over to my fiancé’s house, spent time with him, and played a little Ni No Kuni. While my writing is now a priority because it’s my dream career, my relationship with my fiancé takes precedence, especially if I find I’m getting a lot of writing done while he is at work. Nourishing our relationship is essential not only because I love him, but because it keeps me emotionally balanced. So nourishing relationships with the people in your life can’t take a backseat to writing. It’s good for you, good for them, and you may find out it’s good for character development because you’re getting to really know people.
And writing is a difficult thing. Depend on people to help you through it. Don’t drop them because loneliness is not worth that book contract.
But living should come first because experience creates the best books. I myself am dying for next week’s ballet intensive because this means more dance, more friendships, and hopefully there will be new people for me to meet. And who knows what I’m going to learn that can help flavor my writing?