Friday, October 7, 2011

Duty vs. the Self - Finding Time

Grande Palais Fountain, Paris 2010 - Photo by Green Eye

My favourite time to write is in the morning, when it’s quiet and the birds are just starting to chirp.  I don’t always get to do my writing then, as there are other duties that are demanding my attention. We all have those obligations. Many of the decisions we make about our use of time are based on our sense of duty or necessity.

The Wall-Passer, Montmartre, Paris 2010 - by DGH

Every day, we decide when and which Duty things will be done: going to work, household tasks, visiting elderly relatives, driving the kids, volunteering, etc. Some we do as part of our routine, but because we fixate on getting the duties done, we forget that we need ‘time out’ for the Self. Our sense of cognitive dissonance (discord) becomes agitated when we push our own needs aside. There’s no need to abandon your duties, just make ‘time for yourself’ one of those duties.

Self-time is whatever restores your sense of equilibrium. Writing does it for me, and I find that I get annoyed when my time is hijacked by those ever present duties. When I take the time for an activity I enjoy, it benefits me in several ways. I distance myself from the problems, the worries, and the annoying things; I lose myself in the act of creating something for the pure challenge of it. The problems don’t go away, but I forget about them for a while.

Sacré Coeur, Montmartre, Paris, by DGH 2010

We each have to find that balance in our life, even though the variables are ever-changing. Make the effort to spare a little time for yourself, you’ll be glad you did.


What sparked this post:

In Hope Clark’s post, My Fiction Day (Oct 5, 2011) . . . she talks about when she writes best, and why. Her words started me thinking about my own time to write, and how difficult it was initially to carve out that time.

Her post is an interesting look at one busy writer’s schedule. Check it out at her blog:

A Musical Interlude:

A YouTube video of a song by James Brown, with his advice: ‘. . .you got to live for yourself, yourself and nobody else’. . .)  It may sound a little narcissistic, but the point is, don’t neglect yourself.

I’ll Go Crazy, by James Brown, R & B artist.  (music only)


Do you make time for yourself? How do you manage it?


  1. D.G., This post is deep and meaningful and a true call to arms to define Duty and perhaps Purpose as well.

    My favorite time to write is the morning as well! And no, I never seem to get to write then. I love to hear the birds chirp. Here I sit, looking out a window at a rainy day and in the middle of the afternoon, and I am hearing the birds outside.

    We always think of birds and flying and how that, in our human minds, relates to freedom. However, the birds aren't flying to be free, they are flying because it is a part of living their lives. Similarly, we can take duties that are also passions, or take passions on as duties (for example, writing as a means of earning a living) and thereby make the basics of living the same as soaring like the birds.

  2. Thanks, J. It takes perseverence to make taking 'time out' for the Self part of your schedule.

  3. Found your wonderful site through Pay It Forward Blogfest. I teach Women's Studies, so it caught my attention.

  4. Welcome Carmen, hope you enjoy browsing through some of the old posts. Thanks for dropping by and for following.

  5. Hi D.G! Thanks for the follow! It's great to connect with you! Lovin the blog! :)

    Reflections on Writing

  6. My favorite time to write is the morning, too. My best hours. Nice meeting you :)

  7. @ Melissa - glad to meet another blogger, good luck with your writing. I enjoyed stopping by your blog.

    Drop by 'my place' again soon. I'll reciprocate.

  8. @M. Pax - thanks for the follow.

    I'll be back to check out the sample reads on your sidebar. Love the sci-fi images there too.

  9. @Just Another Day in Paradise - welcome to the blog and thanks for following. I'll try to keep it interesting.

    I've commented on your blog & followed. Nice to know you! Keep in touch.

  10. Thanks I needed this post today. Early morning and I have to go and give a talk that I am totally unprepared for. Procrastination thou are my friend and my enemy. I never know what site I'm coming from. Just another Day in Paradise or Far Away Eyes all the same. I believe in Living Out Loud and Audacity.

  11. @farawayeyes - Glad the post was timely for you. We have to feed the soul, and that means (for me) to nourish my wants sometimes. Not always easy when obligations are pressing.

    Good luck with your talk! Hope it goes well.

  12. @Free Book Reviews - Welcome to the blog, and thanks for following.

    New post will be up Nov. 1st.

  13. Dropping by for the Halloween hop :-)

    My favourite scary movie or book...erm well i'm not really a fan of anything scary as well to be honest lol! A total wimp!
    This year i won't be dressing up until next month when i go and visit my sister in Scotland. Not a clue what i'm going to wear


  14. Great post. I find that when I put something before my writing each day, that it is difficult to make the time later on. I love the motivational song you included. High energy songs are a great way to get the creative juices running and the vision of our dreams/goals appearing before us.


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