Balance is also important when you start getting super busy, whether that's at school, or work, or anything at all. If you let one thing take over your entire life, you can very quickly either burn out or get bored or get eaten because you are so focused you don't see the zombies coming.
Zombies don't have balance. They are totally focused on one thing, and while focus is massivel;y important, it is great to focus while you are in your work, but you need to be able to take a break and focus on other things as well.
As a writer, there are a few ways I get super busy. Sometimes it's when a deadline for a book is due, and I have to finish it to get it to the printer.
Sometimes, like right now, I am in the midst of 52 million school visits, heading out every day to talk to kids around Victoria.
Or sometimes it might be that life takes over.
When this happens, things get pushed aside. I may not write at all if I am doing lots of visits. I don't like this. Writing is a life-source for me, and when I don't write it kind of dries me up a little. Which makes me look like a zombie ... which is actually very handy because then they won't eat me so hey, dry away, face!
Anyway, what I find is that it is very important to try and find balance. You don't have to do huge things, just make sure that if you are caught up in work or assignments or whatever, that you take time for yourself as well.
Even if it's going for a loooooong walk, or heading out to the Ariana Grande concert, or even just dinner out or going shopping or playing an instrument to change things up, you need to get away fromn the thing that is dominating, otherwise it will, well, dominate!
Most of the great creators had other interestes as well. They may have played multiple musical instruments, or invented things, or been runners or skiers. It doesn't matter what it is, it is great to have other interests outside of your main one. Not only will this give you a break, but it can actually open up the door for new ideas and thoughts to come in. I have actually solved many probl;ems in stories while out on a walk, or just hanging out with friends. I thought of a brand new story idea the other night while at a Pete Murray concert, just from a line he sang in a song. or said before a song. I can't remember. It doesn't matter. I wrote down the idea and then went back to hanging out and relaxing, standing at the concert, swaying to the rhythm, trying not to hurt anyone by my dancing.
I succeeded ... mostly.
So look for balance. Look for things that make you a well-rounded person. Zombies aren't well rounded. They're kind of jagged and bony and scabby and gross.
Good luck, and remember, if at first you don't succeed, sky diving isn't for you (Thank you Stephen Wright for this one!).
And when I say goals, I don't mean goals from the Latin Go, meaning go, and Al, meaning that guy from down the street (as in you yell "GO, AL!" when he's being chased by a zombie).
Nope, By deadlines and goals, and in my case this last month it was a writing deadline and goal, I mean setting a timeframe to get something done.
Zombies do it. They want to eat your sweet, sweet brain.
Zombies do it. They want to eat your sweet, sweet brain like right now.
Okay, so here's what I had to do.
I had been inspired by a friend - funnily enough a guest poster on this blog a while ago, Miss M - to write a new novel about a certain lad named Pete McGee. I had already released three books in the series, and they were pretty much my all-time favourite books I have done.
I had thought the series finished. Done. As dead as someone getting one of those flatlines on the hospital beepy machine. But it turns out it wasn't. As I started thinking about a new story in the series, ideas kept flying at me like zombies on a leftover brain. I realised I had to write this story.
I had a goal.
But I kept pottering around, getting excited about ideas, but really just writing notes on it.
Then my writing group decided to do a novel in a month ... I had a deadline. Coincidence? I think not!
It was writing time. I started writing the new book, tentatively titled I don't know what to call this book.
I wrote 13,000 words ... it wasn't working.
I started again - 13,000 more words ... it wasn't working.
The deadline was looming.
Pressure was mounting.
And then it hit me. I had the answer. I realised why it wasn't working and I started again.
And I wrote.
But with not many days to go, I still wasn't done.
Previously, I had a record of around 5,000 words written in a day, and that was on an earlier Pete McGee book (Pete McGee: Dawn of the Zombie Knights).. With four days to go, I matched that record.
On the third last day, I was out and I wrote, by hand, around 2,000 words.
On the second last day I took those 2,000 words, and added another 5,000, over 7,000 for the day, a new record.
But on the last day, the day the deadline was up, the .day the goal was due, I still wasn't done.
So I sat, and I wrote, and over 10,000 words came out to finish the story!
It was massively exciting and a massive relief and a massive moment of pride that I had done it.
This was a first draft, so not all of it is perfect, and not all of it will stay the same, but on that last day I was so in the moment and focused and flowing that I became the story. I had moments where I was laughing, and moments where I couldn't even see the words on the screeen because I was crying so much. It was an incredible feeling, and one that was made possible because I set the deadline and I made the decision to stick to it.
So this is something I aim to do again, many times over, setting myself a challenge, a deadline, a goal, and then actually going after it. It's easy to set goals and let them drift by, to know what you want and need to do but to not do it.
But, as Derek Sivers says, "If knowledge was everything, we'd all be billionaires with six packs.
You won't always reach your deadlines and goals, but that's okay. Zombies don't always reach theirs, and that is a win for us!
So let's do it!
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