Breathing Space

Yesterday, I was talking to Edie, another of our wonderful writers here at Magical Musings. I told her I needed a blog topic for today. Part of the reason for the lack of topic was because my normally unbelievably long To Do list had dwindled down to one thing – this blog. She suggested I blog on breathing space – the space I suddenly found myself in – and hadn’t recognized!

Normally I have ten things on the go and twetny more ready to jump onto my plate as soon as I clear one thing off. I’m behind on a release of Maddy’s Floor, have a single title RS, Touched by Death in final revisions and have been working on two YAs all with due dates. Then there’s the 4 kids, editors, family birthdays, formatting, covers, promo…the list is ALWAYS endless. Then suddenly, for the first times in weeks/months I had a bit of breathing space.

What does that mean?

Did that mean I was bored?






Or was I lost with nothing to do?

Or had I hit the wall – exhausted?

This ’empty’ space in my life happens so rarely that I didn’t believe it at first. It happened as a result of a fluke. I thought a manuscript would be back this morning and it didn’t show up. I’d cleared everything off my plate so I could get at this one due in and suddenly found myself in an abyss.

I figured I’m missed something, forgotten to do something, hadn’t scheduled something. When in reality I was ahead of schedule (I know, right?!?)

And when I did understand, I was…lost! Although I’ve been trying to relax more in my life, I’ve failed miserably. People always say I should bring more work/life balance into my reality. But what does that look like? How can you strive for something you haven’t experienced in so long? Doesn’t the very act of striving to bring more balance into your life – negate it?

Then this moment of time opened up and I could see the possibilities. I could go for a walk, do a yoga session, go out for lunch, read a book…Does that tell you how narrow, how focused, and how incredibly unbalanced my life is normally that these things are…well…treats?


What do you do when your schedule lightens up unexpectedly?

Do you just hang around until your schedule goes crazy again?

Or are you the type of person that needs to be closely watched so you don’t get into trouble when you have time on your hands?


Or are you more like me – happy to just roll around and see what ideas rise to the surface to help you find your way back to it??







So, talk to me – how do you get breathing space? And when you get it – what do you do with it?

About Dale Mayer

Dale Mayer writes romantic suspense, with or without paranormal elements like TUESDAY'S CHILD (2011) and now young adult books in various genres like DANGEROUS DESIGNS (2011). Writing stabilizes her in a life gone wild! The other stabilizers? Cheesecake and her four cats! Of course, she's dreaming to think she'll get a piece cheesecake once her four kids find out she's been baking!
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18 Responses to Breathing Space

  1. Amy Atwell says:

    Dale–congrats on being ahead of the game. I’m in a similar place. I’ve sent something out but haven’t heard back yet–it’s a sort of limbo. At first I was very stressed (see my post earlier this week), but I’ve gotten so much catch up work done in the past two days. I just had to “let go” of the notion of my schedule and look around with fresh eyes at all the stuff I’ve been ignoring. You know, minor things like laundry, taxes, calling my siblings…

    Enjoy the breathing space!

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Good morning Amy,
      You as much as anyone know how little breathing space there is in our lives. I’ve been catching up on stuff, constantly checking emails, yet holding off on the next big project because I know that as soon as I do, the projects are going to fly back into my schedule.

      I am enjoying the breathing space, thanks – still stunned at the concept of being ‘caught up’ or ‘ahead.’ Like how did that happen?
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …2 books up for free for the 22nd and the 23rd of February!!

  2. Jeff Clough says:

    I’m actually in the middle of a somewhat-engineered breathing space and I don’t think I like it one bit. Next week I’m going out of town to visit a friend, a semi-vacation that will leave me with relatively little time to do anything truly productive. This week, my daughter has her February vacation so I’ve been hanging out with her, able to accomplish only the little things.
    Of course, being the panicky sort of workaholic I am, I started doing “overtime” two weeks ago in preparation for this week and next. I was successful, but I have since discovered that when I’m idle I go positively batty trying to add things to the list, whether I should or not. When I don’t have something I have to do, when it feels like I could disappear off the face of the Earth for even a few hours without anything falling apart, I start to worry.
    Jeff Clough`s last blog was …Getting Inspired

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi Jeff,

      You sound like me! Sometimes when my list is getting empty I start adding other things onto the list so I can cross it off and have it look more productive. sigh.

      I also work harder in advance, anticipating a lighter schedule, then go batty with nothing to do. My kids have been known to steal my laptops away from me so I can’t work. Thankfully they allow me to read my kindle so I have a tendency to send a lot of work to the kindle to read over and they don’t know about it. 🙂

      Talk about a paranoid workaholic!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …2 books up for free for the 22nd and the 23rd of February!!

  3. Edie Ramer says:

    The trouble with breathing spaces, for me, is that I have so many things I’m putting off because I don’t want to do them. Like cleaning closets, drawers, anything… Luckily, I usually have a book to read. Or a whole bunch of books. And I can once again avoid cleaning. 🙂

  4. Misty Evans says:

    I love breathing spaces and schedule one or two small ones in every week, usually over the weekend. Listening to music, cooking, baking, playing games with my kids, watching a movie…I need to refill the creative well and balance my need to go full throttle during the week. Today, I’m starting the weekend early by having coffee and Black Forest cake with a friend at our favorite coffee shop. She’s an author, too, so I can talk about characters, plotlines and marketing and feel like I’m working while I’m also having fun!

  5. Great for you Dale, to find some precious time to just sit and breathe. One of me might get spastic if she breathes for too long. A compulsive list-maker-doer-planner, the hyper active one with the OCD personality? She hasn’t a clue how to kick back. Her evil twin, the rebel procrastinator, the one who loves to rip up lists, play ear shattering music and wander airmlessly along rivers or oceans? Now she knows how to have one hell of a good time. I’ve grown happy with their little battles, often sitting in front of a blank screen waiting to see which of them shows up. Oh well, I think I’ll crank up the music and goof off for a while. I can always edit later, after the pool, after I read a few more chapters … you know … after 🙂
    florence fois`s last blog was …Let’s Play a Game …

    • Dale Mayer says:

      Hi florence!

      Sounds like you’d be a great person to spend time with. Love the idea of walking along the rivers and oceans – but oh wait, we’re socked in with snow, ice and nasty cold winds. Maybe I’ll try for your ear splitting music to blow off some steam – it’s more likely to energize me and make attack those kitchen cupboards I’ve been avoiding!
      Dale Mayer`s last blog was …2 books up for free for the 22nd and the 23rd of February!!

  6. Jill James says:

    Dale, you and I must be twins separated at birth. LOL I’m like a hamster on the wheel in the cage, running and getting nowhere. When I get breathing space I go get a mani-pedi. It took me years to learn to pamper myself. I think I got my first one when I turned 40. How sad is that? I love to read for enjoyment when I get free time too.
    Jill James`s last blog was …Guest Blogging

  7. Liz Kreger says:

    Sometimes I think if I’m not on the run doing stuff … whether its family, friends, writing, work … whatever, that I’m slacking off. This past week I had a couple of blissful evenings of nothing to do. I was able to read, actually watch TV, do nothing if I wanted. It felt … odd.

    You get into the habit of racing around, meeting deadlines, pleasing others that you forget that you need those periods of time where you have no obligations. Laundry? It’ll keep. Vacuum … pfft. It will always be there. Enjoy the free moments when you find them.

  8. Breathing space? please define.

  9. Ema Wimpy says:

    This is a lovely post. I guess we have got to thank Edie as well for the inspiration.

    I’m also happy to just roll around and see what ideas rise to the surface to help me find my way back to it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Ema Wimpy`s last blog was …how to seduce a woman

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