by Deren Hansen
Sandra Tayler, speaking at the 2011 Life, the Universe, and Everything (LTUE)
conference, addressed the perennial question of finding balance. She
said you can balance your life by paying attention (as in at least 10
minutes a day) to the five things that are most important to you.
I've amplified Sandra's five things to illustrate the technique.
Source of Inspiration
word inspire comes from Latin root that mean, "to breath into." Many
creation stories have God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the
Amorphous Essence of the Universe breathing life into creation.
What is it that breaths life into your writing, your work, and your very existence?
What fills you with joy in being?
Whatever it may be, take time each day to reconnect with your source of inspiration.
good or ill, humans are social animals. Much of our sense of who we are
is a function of those with whom we are close. Put another way, much of
what we do is motivated by the people with whom we have the most
important relationships. Some have pursued their art at the expense of
those relationships and wound up with no one to share it with when they
won the prize.
Take time each day to acknowledge and
nurture your important relationships. Not only will you have more
support right now, you'll likely have someone to appreciate it when you
Health and Welfare
As Count Rugen, in the Princess Bride, says, "If you haven't got your health, you haven't got anything."
Take time to take care of yourself.
If you are serious about
writing it should have a high priority. While writing every day is an
important habit, the point here is that you ought to do something
related to writing each day to keep in touch with your passion.
"Something only I care about."
Sherry Wachter, writing on The Blood Red Pencil, talked about the importance of a room of one's own.
That is, how having a project of your own makes it easier to compromise
when you're working on someone else's project. Taking time each day to
do something only you care about is essential if you don't want to lose
track of yourself amid all the demands placed upon you.
Balance = The Things that Matter
can think of this as the plate-spinner approach to personal balance.
Like the performer who runs back and forth spinning up the plates that
are slowing down, taking time each day to at least touch the five most
important things in your life will go a long way to helping you find
And don't think of it as balancing your life.
The job of balancing an entire life is overwhelming. Sandra Tayler said,
"Balance the day and the year will take care of itself."
Deren blogs at The Laws of Making.