For the past month, I have been scaling the seemingly impossible summits of paperwork attendant to my life as a writer/director/producer/business owner/novelist. Boy, that’s a lot of slashes. We’re talking about dozens of forms from contracts for actors and directors, vendor agreements, tax paperwork, financial statements, and the list stretches on until it becomes a blinding blizzard of papers and text. It’s the kind of writing not many of us wordsmiths like to handle, but it has become a necessary part of our lives. It’s always better to have your agreements spelled out in writing.
But why am I talking to you about climbing my mountain of paperwork? I wanted to talk about finding balance between the personal and the professional. It’s so easy to feel swamped by the mountains of non-creative yet necessary work we have to do. On the other side of this arrangement, it’s so easy to rationalize ourselves away from our responsibilities. As writers, we can have a hard time staying away from our magical worlds of make-believe to focus on the less imaginative parts of our careers. I know that happens to me. It’s more fun to dream up a new show for next year than it is to craft the giant director’s contract with forty-four dry clauses.
One way I’ve been working to find balance is to reward myself for work. Take an hour break or every few hours of work. Establish a clear “quitting time” in my schedule. My life is not a regular nine-to-five, so by structuring it a little like one, I find healthier balance with all my work while still having time to relax. It’s important for me to do this to keep me sane and keep me moving forward with my career. After all, I don’t want to fall off Paperwork Mountain and get buried by a blizzard of my own design. So ask yourself, how do you find your work-life balance as a writer? And what can you share with other writers who might be struggling?