In addition to my writing career moving into full speed, my personal life is hectic too. School has started. I’m busy running my kids to all of their activities. And I’m also helping one of my family members through a difficult time.
On more than one occasion during this stressful time, I’ve been tempted to put aside my WIP (work in progress). I’m about a quarter of the way into the book (25K) and have wondered if I need to quit for a few weeks until things settle down and life becomes more manageable.
I fully realize there are times in our lives when we need to lay down our writing. I’ve been there. In fact, as most of you know, I completely stopped writing for quite a number of years when I was busy having babies.
But now that I’m in middle of a full-fledged commitment to a writing career, I’ve had to evaluate more carefully my writing schedule.
The bottom line is that I’ll always be busy. If I’m not marketing one book, I’ll likely be doing rewrites on another. Or researching one. Or writing up a synopsis. Or filling out a publicity questionnaire. Or preparing for a speaking engagement. Or writing up blog posts. Or whatever.
When is busyness a valid excuse for setting aside our writing and our WIPs? And when is it just that—an excuse?
During this stressful past month, I haven’t always managed to meet my weekly goal of 6000 words. But I’ve kept very close. I’ve tried to write most days. And here’s the one thing that’s helped me most, the one thing I do every day that helps me to keep writing:
I sit down and make myself do it.
Not too profound, is it?
But that’s my secret. Every day, even though there are a thousand other things that demand my attention, or things I could be doing, emails to answer, tweets to respond to, blog tour stops to visit, etc., etc., etc., I ignore them. For just a little while.
And I simply write.
I turn off my email notification bell. I close up twitter. I put on my headphones and turn on Pandora. And I open my manuscript and make myself write . . . Even though I’m stressed about everything else I need to do. Even though I really want to finish my mile-long to-do list before I write.
I let everything else fall by the wayside. Sure my mind is still cluttered. My life isn’t neat and tidy. It’s not ideal. But I take what I’ve got and I make the most of it.
Because, really, what good will come of all that other writerly stuff I’m doing, all that social media, all the promoting, IF I don’t keep writing my books? Writing has to stay THE priority amidst all of the other writing career demands.
So each day I stick to my commitment as best I can.
Because that’s how we write one page. One page becomes two. Then the next day three. Then four. Until eventually we have a completed book in front of us, and we’re amazed at how far we’ve come.
And no, writing through the mundane busyness of life doesn’t stifle my creativity. In fact, once I actually sit down and force myself to pound away at the keyboard, I find that the writing and the story brings me fresh energy and excitement and passion. (Not every day!) But overall, the creative process is something that rejuvenates me.
What about you? Have you been making too many excuses lately for why you’re not writing? Do you just need to sit down and do it?
Here are a few more stops in my blog tour you won't want to miss! (And of course, WIN my book!)
Friday 9/16: Come find out on Carol Garvin's blog what meal I would take with me if I knew I was going to be stranded on a deserted island for a month!
Friday 9/16: On Rel Mollet's blog I share 5 things I can't live without and the most interesting place I've been!
Saturday 9/17: Holly Smith on her blog asks me to reveal how I find ideas for my blog posts!
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