Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Creating Margins in Your Life

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

When I started writing, one of the rules I’d heard was to be sure there is plenty of white space on the page. As a newbie writer, I wondered what that meant. Then I learned it referred to having a good balance of dialogue and introspection to ensure the reader isn't overwhelmed by all the words on the page. Dialogue on a page creates white space. It breaks up line after line of complete sentences.

Another rule in writing is proper manuscript formatting. Writers were advised to create 1" margins on all sides of their manuscripts. Manuscripts with 1" margins appear clean and uniform, offering space for comments...before Track Changes, of course.

Creating white space and margins in our lives allows us to clean out the clutter and extra busyness that bogs us down. Filling every moment of our waking hours causes extra stress as we struggle with juggling more and more activities and events.

For nineteen years, I owned and operated an in-home business that demanded a lot of my time, including trainings in the evenings and on Saturdays. Additionally, I took care of my family, taught Sunday school, attended school functions for my boys, and if life wasn’t crazy enough, I went back to school. I had to develop better time management skills as I struggled with my daily juggling act. Once I started writing on deadline, something had to change. I needed to be mindful of creating margins in my life.

Instead of constantly adding to my life, I needed to reevaluate my priorities and eliminate unnecessary busyness that was crowding my margins. We’re all in different seasons of our lives, and those seasons will dictate what kinds of margins are maintained. Additionally, I needed to make sure I was making intentional time with the people most important to me.

Creating white space hasn't been easy as I've had to make some difficult decisions, but my life feels calmer and less stressed. And I have more time to enjoy the people and activities I love.  

What are you doing to create margins in your life?


10 comments:

  1. Really valuable for me at this moment. I need to create some margins in my life. Thanks, Lisa.

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  2. Lisa, It's so hard to stick with margins with deadlines and life, but great advice. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  3. Lisa, what a great reminder for all of us to create some white (breathing) space in our lives. Thank you.

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  4. Great reminder to stop and smell the roses! Often I do that between books...then I get behind and have to rush to make up my word count. :)

    I need consistent white space! Love the visual.

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  5. Oh, my, do I need white space. No, I need mega white space LOL

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  6. Good advice, Lisa. Our lives can get so busy at times.

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  7. Excellent post. I remember the days when my kids were home. My youngest was 9mo when I started writing my first book. (He will soon be 40.) I slept in 3-hour increments until he started kindergarten in order to get everything done that needed doing. My kids knew better than to interrupt me when I was working, but I'm not disciplined with my grandchildren!

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  8. Wonderful post. When my kids were young, I wrote when they were at school. It was mommy time. But once school ended, it was kid time. Finding a balance in your life is necessary. You're a better writer, mother and person if you have that balance.

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  9. Great post and a great reminder. Balancing busy with productivity and relaxation is a struggle for me.

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  10. Great post, Lisa! I worked hard to create some margins over the past year, but lately I noticed I'm adding stuff again. This is a good reminder to sit down and make some hard choices before it gets out of hand again. Thank you!

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