Create a Balance
In my last blog post, Novelists Deal With Family – Part I, we looked at the dilemma of trying to work on your novel and still balance out family time and family relationships. I quoted several authors who presented strong opinions on the subject, not the least of which was one from British author, Cyril Connolly, who stated:
“There is no more somber enemy of good art than the pram in the hallway.”
In other words, Connolly was of the opinion that family was a deterrent to his work. My take on the subject is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. What’s wrong with striking a balance?
If you are right now in the midst of such a dilemma, here are a few tips to help bring things into a good balance. These will work whether you are creating your novel, or are self-employed as a freelance writer pushing crazy deadlines.
Tips for Making the Balance Work
- See your family members as allies, not enemies. Gather the wagons by allowing family to be your supporters and helpers along the way. As much as you can, discuss your projects with them. Ask for ideas and input. Make them feel they are a part of what you’re doing. I distinctly remember taking a walk with my daughter, explaining my novel plot to her and as we walked together we brainstormed for the title ideas. She loved it. (And I did end up using her idea!)
- Set parameters to let each family member know what is expected. Use a family calendar to show what needs to be completed when. This way they can appreciate why you need your alone-time. Being self employed means some days on your calendar are freer than others. On the days that are freed up, leave the house and do something special together.
- Also on that family calendar, schedule in family times when you fully step away from your work and are totally focused on the other members of the family.
- Another workable idea is to create closed-door times and open-door times. The open-door times mean you are working, but are more accessible than during the closed-door times. If they know you’re not always shut away, they will be more accepting of the times when you must have the alone-time type of quiet.
- When you are out of your office and are in the family area, use those times for note-taking, creating outlines, and brainstorming. This way you can be moving forward on a project, and still be present in the lives of your family members.
Build Family Relationships
As novelists (and as freelance writers), we are by nature creative individuals. Use that creativity to think of ways to build family relationships while you’re building your writing business – or your novel-writing persona.
Common sense says this is a much better use of time and energy than always wishing your family members away so you can have quiet and solitude to write. It will pay off in the long run.
There’s nothing to compare with the feeling you get when your son, daughter, or spouse express how proud he or she is of you and your accomplishments. You can then remind them that they are the wind beneath your wings!
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If you ever have any questions, please leave a comment on the page or email me at: NormaJean@beanovelist.com