Sunday, March 11, 2012
Word-of-the-Year Series: Believe & Balance
Welcome to the continuing Rockville8 word-of-the-year series. We’ve heard so many great words from members of the group and the life philosophy behind the choice of each of those words, that I’ve walked away inspired each week. It’s been an encouraging series for me to read.
I’m a pretty driven person. I set goals every January and I push hard to meet those self-imposed deadlines for myself. Therefore, when this conversation came up about choosing a word for the year, I only had to think of the goals I’d set for myself this year to choose my word. Well, actually, my two words. I couldn’t settle on one because I’d had such diverse goals this year. The two words I settled on this year that embody my goals are BELIEVE and BALANCE.
BELIEVE is such a great word because its scope is so great. I am a woman of faith, so believing as it’s related to faith and religion has been fairly easy for me since I was a child. The spiritual has always been important to me. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t BELIEVE in God. However, the harder aspect of the word for me to practice is related to my writing career. I’m a practical person. If I have a goal, I’ve always been able to envision all the steps it will take to achieve that goal. This mindset often hinders my ability to BELIEVE that my dream of becoming a best-selling author will ever turn into a reality since the steps to becoming a successful published author seem so daunting in today’s market.
So I decided this would be the year that I chose to BELIEVE it could really happen--this is the year where I BELIEVE I will be published. I’m doing all the right things. I’m writing and finishing polished manuscripts, submitting those stories to publishers and agents, networking, and building connections within the romance genre. Now it’s time to put my faith into action and see what happens.
The second word I’ve claimed is BALANCE. Since I’m goal-oriented, I tend to hyper-focus. I’m not very balanced. I have a hard time relaxing or just “being.” I can get lots of work done in the course of a week, month, quarter, or year. However, oftentimes, to achieve those word-count goals I’v set for myself--while working a full-time job and managing a family--other areas of my life have suffered.
My “fluffy” quotient rose exponentially over the past five years. Weight I’d gained during my three pregnancies never went away. And the more manuscripts I finished, the less exercise I got and the more I just ate without thinking about the food I consumd. So to achieve BALANCE this year, I’m working on my health--eating better, dieting, exercising. Already, I see a difference in my energy levels and how I’m feeling. Physical wellness is an important part of any balanced writer’s arsenal. If I don’t take care of my body now, I won’t be able to write into my Golden Years when I have the glorious luxury of time.
BALANCE is also necessary where my family commitments are concerned. My boys are teenagers. They’re pretty independent. They can cook their own meals, do their own laundry, and pick up after themselves. Yay! This is such a change from those years when they were little and needed so much from me while I tried to squirrel away an hour here and there to write. I now have more independence, too. Plus, more time to write. However, my boys still need me. BALANCE gives me permission to spend the time I need with them to enjoy the young men they’ve become and are becoming, while still making my dream of writing a reality.
Instead of taking every weekend to write, I’m learning to manage my time differently. I’m taking more breaks between manuscripts--a reward to myself when I finish a project. I try to write a few hours during the week, when I can, so that I don’t need to be away all day on Saturday and Sunday to write to make up for the time I didn’t get to write during the week.
I’ve also started to work intentional reading back into my morning routine. I’m an avid reader. I love to read. I binge when I’m not writing. But to keep the well full, both emotionally and mentally, I need to read on a regular basis, not just when I’m not working on a project. We can only expand genres and take our own story-telling to the next step if we underestand what’s currently being written within those genres. In that morning time, I’m reading both fiction and the how-to non-fiction books I adore. Talk about starting your day off right. Getting ready for work is much better after I’ve enjoyed a chapter of a good book. All throughout the day, my mind returns to that book, that story. How cool.
And, I’m working on learning to stop to smell the roses. My focus on BALANCE has lead me back to yoga, long walks, meditation, and expanding the contemplative life I love so much.
All-in-all, good results for concentrating on two simple words. I highly recommend it!
Tell me what you do to practice BALANCE in your own life--writing or otherwise. And I’d especially love to hear what you do to help you BELIEVE a successful writing life is possible for you. I’m always looking for “angels” to inspire me and keep me going. Tell me your story. I’d love to listen.
Posted by Mackenzie Lucas
Writes contemporary romance as Mackenzie Lucas. Find me on twitter @MacLucas_writer and on Facebook at MackenzieLucasFanPage. Lucas holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a B.A. from Dickinson College. She is a writer, writing coach, editor, mother of three, wife, and life-long writing student. Lucas has published four books with Soul Mate Publishing and Indie pubbed five additional titles. She is represented by literary agency McIntosh and Otis, is a PAN member of RWA, and served as president for her local RWA chapter (Washington Romance Writers) for the past two years.