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In which I talk about our society's disparagement of taking care of ourselves and its encouragement to put ourselves last.
I just got back from L.A. and the annual SCBWI summer writing conference. I got to spend a lot of time with some truly incredible human beings, I got to hear Matthew Kirby be intelligent (if you ev......
David Hixson's profile photoWalther M.M.'s profile photoLisa Ellis's profile photoAmy Sundberg's profile photo
I think that there is a general belief that artists should suffer for their work.  They should be unhappy, starving, challenged by adversity, taken advantage of by  the man and probably die in poverty of some easily treatable malady.  This makes their art more real.

Bah.  I like your approach better.  If you aren't having fun with it, go find something you like.
Placing yourself last sounds like a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to counter all the selfishness out there which we know is wrong.

Placing other people's needs before your own can only work in a healthy manner when you actually want it that way. Not out of a sense of responsibility, but a sense of love. We all enjoy doing sacrifices from time to time for the people we love.

However, it isn't always a matter of choosing between "us" or "them", whatever happened to the "we"? Sometimes the best thing we can do for others is to take care of ourselves so that we may be in good shape to serve others better. Or that's what I think about it.
I know the Covey precept of "Sharpening the saw" is cliche by now - but sometimes cliches are cliches for a reason. If you don't stop and maintain your tools on a regular basis, your tools become less effective. As a writer, your tool is YOU.

For my part, I've been so busy I haven't taken the time to step back and really plan, so that I can be more focused. That's why I'm heading out of town for a personal retreat tomorrow, to focus and really put some goals and plans down on paper. I know me, and it will be so very tempting to actually get started on some of those goals, but if I don't make sure I segregate this time specifically for the planning, it's a lot harder to make it happen later. 

All that said, I think what it really comes down to is Balance. You can't focus solely on yourself, and you can't put yourself last. You have to find the right balance that will allow you to accomplish your own personal goals and meet your own needs while also balancing your other priorities like your relationships, career, etc.
Yes, I very much agree with both of you, Lisa and Walther, that the key is balance. But there is a certain promotion of the idea that taking care of yourself is selfish or unimportant etc. etc. that I think is way out of balance.

Also, Lisa, your personal retreat sounds fabulous! :)
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