I had a lovely lady request we meet up because she wanted to discuss my writing process. All week, I wandered around and was baffled. What would I say? I didn’t want her to be underwhelmed when she found out that my progress was merely putting my pen to my paper. Yet when it finally became time for the meetup, both she and I learned a lesson on how important it is as a writer to have structure. So this Twisted Tuesday suggests to you the beauty of structure.
Expectations Vs. Reality: How Structure Came About.
When I walked into my meeting, I was nervous. Talking to people is scary. I say the “F” word a lot. I’m loud. I’ll ramble forever if you let me. Yet, I had a system. Hug, smile, get coffee, and then engage. This particular meeting was with this awesome young woman. She was just like me in a sense that she did a lot. She mentioned that she was a writer, a massage therapist, she did theater, she had a daughter, she had a business degree and so much more. She could have been a model too. Seriously, she was gorgeous. “Finally!” I thought. I’ve finally found someone who understands what it’s like to be both an artist and a human.
Then. She asked the question and it made the entire “Writing process” make perfect sense. She asked me “How do you juggle it all?”
Fun Fact: I have a Type A Personality. I’m always urgent about projects and I’m also never satisfied with them. I melt down when it comes to problems and it always tends to be horribly stressful. Structuring my life was the best thing that ever happened to me. I liked making plans and goals. My anxiety attacks decreased so much since I started effectively building my structure. More importantly, my writing increased as well as improved.
Writer to writer, artist to artist, person to person.. It doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone gets overwhelmed and if you’re a person like me who wants to do a lot at once, it gets scary. I can’t count how many times I’ve missed my writing for weeks or had to cancel meetings because of stress, conflict, problems or just plain being exhausted.
What’s my solution? It’s simple. Structure.
Remember When You were In School?
Wait, wait! Stay with me!
Remember when you were in school? Did you know that school provided you with structure? It gave you deadlines and allotted times due to the way a teacher’s lesson plan had each subject scheduled at a certain time of day. It was professionally designed for you to succeed provided you maintained discipline. It sounds silly but school instilled structure upon you. Some people were extremely responsive and carried it over to adulthood. Yet most of us, especially artists, have neglected the tradition. (I don’t know about you guys but I’ve missed meals to finish projects! NO REGRETS) So, why not try making a schedule? It doesn’t have to be completely set up like school either. It can be anything from just setting a reminder on your phone about eating to building a full-on time table.
My most efficient technique is probably my blog planner. I bought a 5 subject notebook and sectioned it off so that I had a different subject for each section on my blog. Each blog has a scheduled day, and I programmed reminders in my phone the morning of to remind me that a blog needs to be posted today. It made such a big difference. Soon after, I found a blog calender online for my website which allowed me to see my blogs posted in calender view. I often look at the times because then I could tell which times I struggled to get the blog up, how long it took, what time is easiest for me to focus, etc. I found it was most efficient when I had already had a draft of my blogs written because then I could flow freely with my already organized thoughts. Therefore, my most efficient technique was the planner notebook. $3. Years of sanity and organization.
So upon discussing My Writing Process, I Taught Both Myself And Her Something..
As I gave my structure speech to my new writer friend. I realized that my life as well as my writing career have changed immensely since I found my structure. Little things turned into something big. I was actually proud when she said that I should teach a class.
So this Tuesday, I just had to share little tidbit with my fellow artists, especially the ones like myself who wear quite a few hats at once. It gets scary, I know. Keep calm and make a plan or a schedule and stick to it.
It helps, I promise. Now it’s your turn. How do you balance your life and art?
Note: I have to give the biggest thanks to Sarah Syhakhoun. She doesn’t know it but she was the start of my structure and accepting how much I relied on it. She made me feel okay with it. Her blog shares personal stories of how she stays organized in both her business and her marriage. It was inspiring.I remember gushing about how phenomenal her binder tips are and now, a half a year later, I am writing in my blog planner how to share her wisdom with others who crave structure much like mine. She’s also a photographer and you guys should check her out.
But for now, this naturalista, is hasta lavista. 😉