Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Controlled Falling

Just like walking, living is an exercise in controlled falling.  We step out, falling with our weight in one direction, then we shift our weight, stepping with the other foot to control the fall.

I’m a product of having worked much of my professional life as an independent contractor, charging by the day, usually traveling out of town for my work, often going full-tilt from 6am to late into the evenings to work, talk, eat, plan with clients.  About half of my years doing leadership development work were spent in my own business.  So when I was with a client, a part of my brain focused on marketing for future revenue and when I was selling, a part of my brain felt the urgency to get time with a client in order to generate revenue.   So what does any of this have to do with writing or falling?

I know some writers who struggle to keep focused and on task. Distractions haunt them. Word count is the enemy.  I’m not one of those people.  By nature or habit, I’m not sure which, I will work myself right into the ground.  I write anywhere, anytime, no matter how I feel.  I push forward.  I’ve found the same driving work ethic continues in my writing.  

Isn’t it great? I can really generate the work!  Well, I’m not ready to pop the cork yet.  I’ve found creativity needs to be fed.  Sure, I can write thousands of words, but am I writing my best thousand words?  It’s a bit counterintuitive, but the more I spend away from the laptop, the better my writing.  In other words, I know if I give a quarter of my writing time to other activities, those experiences enrich me and fuel my creativity.  So I take long walks, go to museums, ride the bus, take a ferry across the bay, ride my motor scooter, visit a part of town I’ve never seen before, try something I’ve never done before...the list is endless.  

Like the old days, trying to balance sales and delivery, I now work to balance writing and experience.  If I overemphasize getting out in the world to experience life, the quantity of my writing suffers.  If I overemphasize writing at the expense of getting out in the world, the quality of my writing suffers.  It’s a balancing act, which some days I manage very effectively, thank you very much.  However, I also have those times when I know I’ve either pressed the writing too much or I know in my gut I need to put the scooter away and pick up the lap top.  

Maybe the most important thing is not how successful any of us can be balancing the various aspects of our lives, but an awareness of the need for balance.  We step out, falling into our writing with all our weight, then control the fall by shifting to relationships, to family, to other interests in our lives. 

How do you control your fall?

Richard Hacker is the author of TOXIC RELATIONSHIP, a thriller set in Texas available Now from Champagne Books.  
Follow his blog at; Facebook at and Twitter: @Richard_Hacker


Big Mike said...

Often thought about the same amazing facet of modern life: balancing across so many competing consumers of our time between wife, children, job, friends, and the element that generally sucks hind teat - our own personal recreation. Good article.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

You have it right. Whatever we do in life, to do our best requires the balancing act. It's very hard to get right, but necessary.