Dear Allyson,

Thanks so much for your words on cultivating a daily practice. In the last month, I started giving real attention to developing mine (writing, for 1-2 hours a day after work). So far, it’s been both challenging and beautiful. I’m getting tripped up in finding balance between prioritizing my writing time and being sharing myself and my time with friends. What advice do you have for balancing being generous and in service of my friends, and remaining disciplined? My intuition says to give more away. Can this work with my daily practice instead of against it?




Dear Sam,

Sounds like you have chosen a time for your practice that conflicts with your best time to be social. Success in your work is wrapped entirely in your social interactions. Select activities that serve your forward motion in life. If spending time in the bar laughing with buddies over alcohol does not seem to advance your goals, shift your social time to author talks, plays and public readings. Make friends who share your passion and make your time a worthwhile investment.

Being productive and at the same time social could be a matter of compartmentalizing. For example, we could choose to give a few hours a few times a week to friends after work at the bar with a plan to be home by 9pm when we could put in two hours of writing. Or get up earlier in the morning with a fresh mind. One late night out might be selected. Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay on “Self-Reliance” says, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”  Be flexible with ourselves and be happy with your choice making your decision fruitful. A lot of writers, editors and publishers hang out is certain bars.  It’s like properly parenting yourself. You can’t play all the time. You have to do your chores and your homework. You also have to exercise, honor your body and give yourself creative time.

Life is filled with compromises. I am happiest with my life and myself when I engage in certain practices every day. Perhaps, not all of them on one day. Most days is acceptable. When I practice piano, painting, yoga, meditation, writing — I see daily progress and a possible future for my creative work.