2021: A Year in Balance

Do you choose resolutions? I’ve heard people shied away from those this year. I’m not surprised. After the unknowns and swift shifts needed to navigate 2020, who would make resolutions? For the past several years, I have chosen One Word to focus on for the next year. There’s an entire process behind choosing your One Word, click and you can see the book with details.

Normally, I go through the process, but this year, a word just came to me: Balance. You see, I have trouble sometimes with obsession. I’m a little like a bulldog, or an alligator. Once I grab on to a project, I tend to run with it to the exclusion of all else – or at least – little else. That’s a good thing, you may be saying, and yes, sometimes it is. But other times, it makes me selfish and blind to the needs of others.

I am a proponent of Deep Work, or using focused blocks of time to produce better concentration and better use of a given block of time. I haven’t always been good at this, but I’m getting better. Planning has never been my strong suit, though I’ve slowly cultivated the planning habit. I’ve even learned to plan (some) my writing. I’d still consider myself a “Discovery Writer” – this term comes via Jim Rubart – Thank you, Jim.

I am no longer a pantser, and I see the benefit of using Story Questions to frame my story, Story Equations to form deeper characters and Scene Tension Equations to be sure every scene is as captivating as possible. If you’re curious about these elements I’m tossing around, go to Susan May Warren’s Novel Academy or the free blog and learn more.

Anyway, back to balance. This year, it isn’t that I want to do less work on my writing, editing, or blogging. It is that I want to schedule in time to spend with my family and friends and be fully PRESENT! Many times I’ll sit with friends, laptop open, half listening to the conversation swirling around me. I’m not sure why I even left my house if all I was going to do was work, and that, not so well.

So, in 2021, I choose balance. When I am working, I will work hard, with a single-minded focus, so that my time is well spent, productive. When I am not working, I will focus on who I am with and what I am doing in that moment rather than wish I was working. When I am worshiping, I will focus on the act of praise and connection and relationship as well.

I do not plan to do equal amounts of playing and working. That is NOT what I mean by balance. I plan to work WAY more than I do anything else because that’s where I am in my career – at the beginning. The beginning requires more work to gain momentum. I’ve barely begun to get my wheels moving, to have traction with which to push. If I let that slip, who knows how long it will be before I can push hard again. So, I plan to push as hard as I can, but in those moments when I’m relaxing, I choose to be fully there.

We had a recent ice storm. These pictures balance beauty with danger. We see these combinations every day. The beauty and danger of wild animals, of the environment, of cars, horses, even people. May you find a balance this year that brings you joy – even in the midst of pain. Love – even in the midst of loss. Truth – in the midst of lies. Jesus – his death and resurrection – are my truth. He gives me everything I need to survive and thrive in this world, and promises even more in the next. I pray you feel these things in the coming year.

Weeds in Ice – 1/1/21
Cherry tree in Ice – 1/1/21

What do you envision for 2021? If nothing else, I pray you have hope. Hope in a risen and reigning Savior. Hope in forward movement toward rather than back to something. Hope in once more visiting with friends and family, or making new friends as we are again able to travel and see the beauty of this world.

So, reader friends, what is your word for 2021?

Why is it important to you? How will it change you?

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