3 Tips for Writing When Life is Chaotic and Crazy

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

It's that time of year again, when the kids are back to school, fall activities crank into gear, and the schedule gets flipped upside down and shaken around a bit.

As I stare at my calendar at the month of September and continue to add things to the crowded round-up, I can't keep from wondering how in the world I'll be able to carve out enough concentrated writing time.

In addition to home teaching, I'll be leading a children's writing class for a co-op. And then of course between my five children we have dance, guitar and piano lessons, swim team, basketball, co-op classes, literature group, children's choir, youth group, and the list goes on.

So yes, during this time of year, time is on my mind, particularly the busyness of it. In fact, I just noticed that recently I've been subconsciously pinning a number of quotes on Pinterest about the use of time.

Like this one: "Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows."

And this one: "All we have to do is decide what we're going to do with the time that is given us."

Here's another: "Show up. Even when you don't feel like showing up."

This is my favorite: "There are seven days in the week, and someday isn't one of them."

I love all of the above quotes. They're all so applicable to my crazy fall. In fact, they're helpful to think about for any of us dealing with changing and chaotic schedules and wondering how we'll be able to find solid writing time.

Here are three things we can keep in mind:

1. We can't put off our writing because we're busy. There really are only so many tomorrows. We never know when our time on earth will be up. And let's face it, we're always going to be busy. Once we're done with our current busy stage of life, we'll start the next busy one. We'll find different things to do, places to go, and activities that will fill our time.

I'm learning that I can't wait until I cross off everything else on my to-do list before I start my writing time every day. Because honestly, my to-do list is never-ending. Instead, I have to choose to ignore it for a little while each day.

We can't wait until that someday when we finally have a block of free time before we decide to write. Because as the saying goes, someday isn't a day of the week and will likely never come. Instead, we just have to make the time to write . . . now. We can usually squeeze in time for the activities that are most important to us. And if writing is something we want badly enough, we can fit it into our schedules, somewhere.

2. When we sit down to write, we have to use that time wisely. This is something I struggle with constantly. When I finally manage to grab writing time, I have to battle against the urge to check email or twitter or facebook.

It's all too easy to tell ourselves, we're only going to read a couple of blogs before we start working on our WIPs. And the next thing we know, twenty minutes out of our coveted hour of writing time is gone.

Whether we have 30 minutes or an hour or a day, we have to make a conscious choice to turn off the distractions, tune out the noise, and focus on the page that lies before us.

3. Finally, we have to show up at the screen, even when we don't feel like it. Ever notice how young children get excited about new activities? Before my youngest daughter started piano lessons, she was waiting anxiously for the day when she would finally get to play the piano like her siblings. But now that she's been doing it a while, the newness has worn off and there are days when she would much rather do something else than sit down and practice.

And the same is true of most writers. We all feel that initial excitement when we start writing or when we begin a new book. But eventually the thrill wears off under the daily pressure to write something.

If you write only on the days you feel like it, you either won't finish your book or it will take you forever. The only way to complete a book is to write on the days you feel like it AND to force yourself to write on the days you absolutely don't want to.

What about you? How's your fall shaping up? Busy? Chaotic? Crazy? How do you keep writing when life conspires to keep you from it?


Want to learn some of my deepest, darkest secrets? ;-) During the month of September, I'll be sharing secrets about myself during my "Fun Secrets" Blog Tour. On each blog stop, I'll also be giving away a signed copy of my newest release, Unending Devotion:

Monday, Sept. 3 Secret #1:  My greatest struggle during my childhood. Melissa Jagears’s blog

Tuesday, Sept. 4 Secret #2: The secret source of my writing inspiration. Carol Garvin’s blog

For a list of all my secrets, check out my Events Page!

© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!