I was a competitive gymnast during my elementary school years. For the most part I loved gymnastics, and I can still do some of the simpler stuff, like handsprings and walkovers and aerials. One of the basic gymnastics moves is the handstand. Being able to hit a perfect handstand is of the utmost importance, because gymnasts end up using them on the beam as well as bars (a straight handstand is important for giants, an upper-level bar skill).
The key to a perfect handstand, I've found, is finding that point of balance. Too much, and you'll flip over into a backbend. Too little, and you'll fall back onto your feet. Once you find that balance point, you clench. Leg muscles, butt muscles, arm muscles....clenching keeps your body tight and helps you stay upright.
People always ask me how I balance writing with college, work, volunteering, sports, and social life. (Oh, and sleep.)(Hahahahahaha sleep.) For me, the hard part is finding that same balance point. I have the tendency to expect too much of myself. Last year during April and May, I forced myself to write 3,000 words a day despite the chaos of planning my upcoming graduation. I'd stay up until 3:00 a.m. doing the homework that I put off earlier. When I try to do more than humanly possible, I only end up disappointing myself, and I don't finish the necessary work. On the other hand, I'm the type of person who needs to set goals if I'm going to get anything done. Without a concrete schedule I'd just sit around watching Grey's Anatomy reruns and painting my nails.
We're all busy people. Some of you have children instead of college, or full-time jobs, or a combination of all three. When it comes to writing, you have to discover a point of balance that works for you. I personally hit that point at 1,500-2,000 words a day. Anything less, and it doesn't get done. Anything more, and I find myself sacrificing what little sleep I do get to complete last-minute homework projects. And once you hit that balance point you have to work to stay there. A gymnast will clench all her muscles to keep from falling, whereas writers use self-discipline. In order to maintain this balance, you have to write when it's time to write, rather than eating string cheese or watching Modern Family or playing around on Facebook. Stick to your schedule. Leave an hour or two for leisure, but don't let yourself skimp on writing time.
Balance is good. Balance makes us happy and less stressed and less likely to go all psycho on friends/family/the random guy in the library.
What's your balance point?