One of the most common questions I receive is about how I balance my work and everyday life with such dark and disturbing things. I immerse my days with crime scenes, graphic photographs depicting violent crimes, and I write about fictional serial killers. Sometimes it feels like there is nothing else but the ugly side of life; however, I manage my time strictly to keep everything in balance.
We are bombarded everyday with negative and horrifying images from the media. This fuels fear, anxiety and depression among society. I keep these stories to a minimum, meaning that I read/watch a story for information and move on, and not keep reading/watching it numerous times day after day. That is not to say that I’m immune to the suffering and pain of others, quite the contrary, but if I’m not careful then my life would be filled with nothing but doom and gloom, and heavy sadness.
There are times that an average week feels like nothing but killers and criminals wandering in a broken world. I plan my book projects and organize an outline for each story by sections and chapters. This allows me to know when I have to develop and create particular scenes with serial killers or any other terrifying aspects of a thriller. I generally write in short installments for a couple of hours to keep everything in perspective. For example, if I’m writing about a killer stalking victims, I will take a break after my designated writing time to listen to music, walk my dog, or grab a lunch with a friend. I keep the motto of ‘good versus evil’ (the creative sense) in a delicate balance with work and leisure. It keeps the natural balance of things in check – at least for me.
I would wager a bet that my work desk area resembles most writers and consultant’s desks. I have the usual books, papers, files, case reports, the odd newspaper/magazine clipping, research information, sticky notes (lots of color-coded sticky notes), and my favorite pen and highlighters.
But, I make an extra effort to seek out the lighter and even silly things in life. I have a Mr. Potato Head that sits on the corner of my desk. I bet you would not have guessed that! I change his face depending upon my mood on any particular day. Today it’s happy. It makes me chuckle. There really are almost unlimited combinations of faces. I challenge you to find all of them.
I didn’t stop with Mr. Potato Head. Nope. The clock that hangs above my desk has eyes that dart back and forth with a goofy grin on its face. I have one of those KitKat clocks that moves its eyes and tail to keep time. For some strange reason, when I glance up at it from time to time, it makes me laugh. I had one of these clocks when I was about six years old and I guess it has stayed with me.
My suggestion is to not fixate on all of the bleak, frustrating, and violent things that are going on today in the world. Keep them in perspective and you will live a healthier life. Instead, surround yourself with things that take a fun, lighter approach to life, whatever that may be for you. Also, be sure to count all your blessings.
What are some of the lighter or even funny things that you keep with you?
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