Monday Notes: In Search of Balance

The past 11 weeks, I’ve been busy. Remember when I silently reflected and meditated for 14 days? Remember when I said I needed to figure out how to generate more money? Welp, shortly after, I attracted several clients.

Since mid-June, I’ve edited 12 manuscripts. This means each week, I’ve pored over a different person’s dissertation or self-published book. While I’m grateful for the business, there have been repercussions.

My dry eye flared back up. About two years ago, the optometrist diagnosed me with this condition. To remedy it, I use eye drops; I only wear daily contacts (the kind you have to throw away after one use); and I take frequent screen breaks. Usually I can keep it under control, but staring at the computer, while reading 200-page manuscripts every week caused it to return. Sometimes this meant my right eye felt a little itchy and dull; other times it meant there was a bit of pain right behind my eyeball.

woman-typing-on-keyboardWriting was not a priority. This really bothered me. During the past few weeks, I’ve wanted to write. In fact, I’d created a goal to write a new piece and submit for publication every two weeks. This was impossible. It turns out that it’s challenging for me to read other people’s works, while writing my own. I don’t know about you, but I need time and space for the writing process to unfold. By the time I turned off my clients’ work and decompressed, I was tired and only wanted to sleep. This was a bit frustrating for me because I value writing above all else.

Reading blogs shifted to an even lower priority. I found myself not wanting to read as many blogs, which is unusual. Even when I’m on a social media break, I take at least one hour every day and read other bloggers’ material. But after editing thousands of words for hours, I didn’t want to read anyone else’s. It didn’t matter how inspirational, uplifting, or funny the blog was, I couldn’t make myself read for 60 minutes and meaningfully engage.

Editing 12 manuscripts in 11 weeks reinforced a few lessons:

  • Know your priorities. While I know that priorities shift depending on the circumstances, I think that your main priority should always remain number one. For example, writing is important to me. I actually felt bad that I didn’t want to exert the energy to express myself, even though I had the words piling up in my brain.
  • Know your limits. Prior to taking on so many clients, I already had a sense for what was reasonable for my lifestyle. The number is two. I can edit two manuscripts per month and maintain a sense of calm. Anything else is too much, and I won’t be wavering on that moving forward, unless I hire help.
  • Be ready for what you’ve requested. I asked for an increase in income, and I received it. But I wasn’t necessarily prepared for some of the consequences. As a result, I’ll be fine tuning how I co-create my life because after all, I’m in charge of myself and my choices.

So, tell me…how have you all been? What’s been going on? Have you ever gotten a little more than you bargained for? If so, how did you cope?

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47 thoughts on “Monday Notes: In Search of Balance

  1. Similar, and differently at the same time, recognizable again, dear Katherin. During our staycation time I figured out a balance to proceed after our holiday. Joy (our dog) got a hart-attack and poof, my new balance…gone by the wind. Which resulted in me trying to go with the new flow and figuring out a new balance. And that led to me having to make tough choices again, paying no attention to the all to familiar ‘not wanting to hurt peoples feelings’. Reminding myself of what matters more to me in life and of my main values, helped me making those tough decisions.
    Blogging and reading other blogs, yep, lower on my list of priority list too. Fortunately, I am in the luxurious position I can choose how to build and fulfill my life.
    And another reminder I keep telling myself; true friends (also the virtual ones) they will understand.
    Sending you a big hug! XxX

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 12 manuscripts in 11 weeks! That’s a lot of work, Kathy. Thankfully our bodies have a way of telling us when we need to take it easy. I hope your flared eye has settled well by now.

    I so relate with everything you say here, and especially this, “It turns out that it’s challenging for me to read other people’s works, while writing my own…I need time and space for the writing process to unfold.” That’s one reason I started my summer reading challenge because it’s difficult for me to be immersed in both reading and writing at the same time.

    So, thank you for sharing lessons learned after your editing exercise, they apply to me too and right now, as a matter of fact.🙏🏽

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to see that you are now prioritizing your needs! Last weekend I had a mini meltdown because I realized that I’ve been saying yes to everyone and as a result not practicing my own self care. It will be a lie if I said Im doing better now but I will definitely not keep taking on too many things lol

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  4. Welcome back! I’ve missed your posts. But I can certainly understand why you needed a break. Editing so many manuscripts is a huge drain on your time and energy, as you discovered. I think you are very wise to know your limits and stick to them.
    I’ve gotten in over my head more than once in my life, and did the same thing: asked myself how I can dial things back a bit while still moving forward toward my goals. Balance is the key, I think.
    Of course, now that I’m trying to get my mom moved into a retirement home, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed again. But in this case, I know that things will settle down eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No, we just got the word that the apartment would be hers. They are changing the flooring and painting before she moves in, so we have to wait two more weeks. I honestly wish it was sooner!
        But yes, I am taking a little “me time” here and there, just to keep my sanity. I hope you’re able to stick to your goals about your own writing time too!.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was excited to get a notification that you’re posting again! Had no clue you’ve been dealing with so much work! It’s nice that you acknowledged that work was getting to be to much and took a step back. It’s been a few weeks since leaving my job and being a SAHM isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. While I love being with my baby more, I find myself cleaning and cooking more than writing and blogging. I hope to find a better work-life balance too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Awww I appreciate you saying that! It really made me smile.

      Girl, I cannot imagine being a SAHM! You literally do not get any breaks, do you? I do hope you can return to writing and blogging, even if it’s just a little while when someone else can take care of the baby for a couple hours 😉

      Like

  6. Welcome to my life as a composition instructor. Words come in, but they don’t go out.

    As a result, I’ll be fine tuning how I co-create my life because after all, I’m in charge of myself and my choices.

    My daughter and I (as well as a few of my friends) have talked about how we have to be really specific when requesting things from the universe because, whew, sometimes it’s like dealing with a tricky genie that will grant the request but not the nuance, so we have to be ON IT to make sure we’re clear about what we REALLY want.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lol about being a composition instructor. As a former English teacher, I understand and I didn’t return to writing (creatively) until I was no longer in that role and I couldn’t imagine it now!

      Uh, heck yeah about the universe lol

      Like

  7. Oh, Katherin – I am also a dry eye sufferer and I’m so sorry for your struggles with this. Using the computer, which I do extensively, definitely worsens it. I even have a separate blog about my journey with dry eyes (https://dryeyediaries.wordpress.com).
    I discovered that most of the things I did for dry eyes, like drops, worsened my condition. I sought out a naturopathic doctor and she really helped me.
    Congratulations on your workload and productivity. Hang in there. I am doing the same with my broken ankle and hope to begin walking again after my doctor appt. next week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. EEK! Sorry to hear you still have a broken ankle! I think I may have read that one before. Had you discussed coconut oil as a help? I’ll be reading/re-reading it again. I’m interested to know why drops don’t help and if I can’t stop using them, that will be WONDERFUL! They’re expensive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I developed an addiction to them. I needed them more and more. And each time I used them (any kind), they washed away my natural oils and made my eyes worse. As did most of the remedies such as eyelid wipes and compresses.
        I even had 21 vials of blood drawn for serum tears and those tears gave me a bad reaction.
        The coconut oil was very soothing and was the beginning of healing for me. Also, I was low on Vitamin D even though I took a pill supplement. My naturopath switched me to liquid Vit. D and that was also when I found improvement.
        I have my life back after suffering terribly for about 4 years.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. EXACTLY Brittany! I think that part is also a part of having faith…believing that thing is gonna happen just like you asked 😉 And I knoooow…balance in general is sometimes a struggle for me. I always say, I’m either hella bored or hella busy lol

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I definitely take heed to “be careful what you wish for”. My interpretation is that your wish may be granted, but what comes with it may be difficult or painful to balance – a humbling “what was I thinking?!” moment or two. Be ready for what you’ve requested. INDEED.

    I have major imposter syndrome I need to overcome… as well as getting out of my own way and being unafraid of how great I can be. This post was helpful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly (about be careful what you wish for) lol I mentioned to someone else that I think it’s a part of having faith…believing that what you asked for is actually going to happen. I think sometimes we (I) really don’t know if it’s going to happen, so I’m going about life as usual and bam…what I wanted is in my face lol

      about imposter syndrome You know what helped me? Ironically seeing white male privilege in action. Instead of thinking I couldn’t do anything because I wasn’t white or male, I thought the opposite. I was like, aw man! If HE can do this, then I can do anything! With that said, go be great, girl, go be great!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I wish I could take a break too. But that isn’t coming anytime soon but what bothers me most is the drop in my writing. Now, I try to come up with excuses and reasons to make me not write. It might be too me being tired a lot of days but I definitely do not want to kill this writing part of me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Heeey Omo Ackin! I definitely understand. But, I think you’re just gonna have to jump back in, no matter how long, short, or meaningful, so you can at least get something on your blog. Know what I mean?

      Like

    1. Hey Jina! I think it’s different if it’s your own. I’ve been sitting on my own manuscript for a year now! It’s much easier to get through other people’s writing lol

      Thanks for the kind words and well wishes! My eyes are doing much better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It sounds amazingly productive, but work balance is so hard to achieve – expenses increase but salaries don’t and it must be hard to say no when you’re free-lancing. I’ve also been neglecting blog writing and reading, what with the kids’ summer vacation and returning to full-time working – I hate being that person who only posts and doesn’t properly read others’ blogs, and of course I miss out. But as you say, we cannot always do it all.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Riiiight! I hated not blogging in a reciprocal, meaningful way. But what you said is so true. I was very money motivated and it was hard to say no. I guess I’ve learned my freelancing boundaries, so to speak lol

      Liked by 1 person

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