Or is your life marginless?
For a long time, I’ve known that something was wrong. People everywhere, of all ages and walks of life, are frazzled. People are anxious and depressed.
And why is that especially important to writers? Because tired, frazzled, anxious, depressed writers don’t write. Or when they do write, they can’t write well.
I have been re-reading some favorite books lately. One such book is Margin, by Richard A. Swenson, M.D. In this book he talks about the fact that most of us live marginless lives now.
What’s “margin”? Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Margin is having something held in reserve for unexpected situations.
Bring It On!
Instead, most of us live overloaded lives. The cost of overload is seen in health problems, financial debt, family and friendships going by the wayside, and having very little or no time for solitude and renewal.
Because of exponential progress in technology and other areas, things in our culture are changing faster and faster. We have more and more choices. Along with all the progress comes increasing stress, change, complexity, speed, intensity, and overload.
However, despite all this speed and change, human beings have relatively fixed limits. We have physical limits, mental limits, emotional limits, and financial limits. Once the threshold of these limits is exceeded, overload displaces margin.
The book details how many conditions we have at play today that are different than at any other time in history. We have run out of room to breathe. We have run out of time to sit and think. And I think this overload – this living beyond our limits – makes writing extremely difficult.
Can anything be done about this? You can’t stop progress, can you? Maybe not, and maybe we don’t want to, but can we regain our emotional health and physical health and relational health? Is it possible to redirect our over-extended lives? Yes, it is, according to this author.
How About You?
As we move into summer, give this “margin” idea some thought. We’ll be exploring some ways to regain margin so that you have more emotional energy, more physical energy, and more time–when you can write, if you choose to.
I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
What is one way YOU try to avoid (or deal with) overload?