You want to write. You need to write. Yet every time you find yourself starting to get into a good rhythm, a steady, routine, life, as it is well known to do, just “happens.”
Life events—whether planned, like holidays and family get-togethers, or unplanned, such as spontaneous road trips or funerals—disrupt more than just writing time. But when you’re a writer, and your writing time gets upturned, well, that can be just as unsettling.
Busyness is actually a completely different hang-up than life just getting in the way. Yet the methods for solving both barriers are quite similar, it turns out.
Here are our three solutions for keeping on pace with your writing goals, on this lovely holiday weekend (Independence Day for us USA’ers) when we’d all rather be writing, but family, food and fireworks are calling (loudly … so loudly).
Solution 1: Plan ahead as best you can
When things come up you don’t expect, especially if it involves spending quality time with someone close to you, the world won’t stop if your writing does for a while. For the expected, such as a weekend holiday spent with family, spend a little more time writing the weeks before and after your break to make up for lost time.
If a break in your normal writing routine is notorious for throwing you off and knocking out your motivation, be prepared. Know ahead of time it’s going to be more of a challenge to get back into the writing groove, and try not to beat yourself up too much when it does happen.
Solution 2: Write when you can; walk away when you can’t
If life is weighing you down, but you feel the urge to write, set aside a little time and let it happen. In those moments, writing can act as a stress-reliever and take your mind off of school, work, family or whatever else has been occupying your time while away from your desk.
When the words just aren’t coming, don’t force them. Sometimes it’s just not going to happen, and as hard as it is to come to terms with that, it’s just part of the deal. Taking a short break—hours, days, even months—doesn’t mean you love writing any less, that you’re giving up or that you’re never going to start again. Sometimes there are other things you need to take care of first. Your ideas won’t go away. They’ll wait until you’re ready.
Solution 3: Use “I need to write” as an excuse
Not to brag, not to be rude, but to give both yourself and those around you a good reason to spend 30, 10, maybe even just five minutes alone with your laptop, notepad or whatever you use to put your thoughts into words. Your friends and family will understand that, even if you don’t get paid for it, writing is your form of work. Yes, take a little time off. Have fun. Relax. But if you’re itching to write, taking time away to fulfill that need is completely acceptable.
If it’s a holiday, you’re on vacation or you have way too many other things to do, block out 30 minutes of writing time per day. If you have to, do it early in the morning, before the rest of the world wakes up, or late at night, when everyone is sleeping. When brain rush leads to seemingly tireless inspiration, don’t let it go to waste. Sometimes, making small sacrifices for the benefit of your craft is one hundred percent okay.
Life happens. But writing is part of your life. Let neither the predicted nor the unpredictable stand between you and writing those words.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.