The first step to overcoming an obstacle is acknowledging there’s an obstacle to overcome. Most writers who are struggling to start, maintain or complete projects often have trouble figuring out exactly why. And without the why, there’s not much hope in figuring out how to fix the problem.
Here are a few likely reasons you’re really struggling to get a decent amount of writing done this week, and how to start to overcome them next week.
1. Your brain is trying to tell you something
If you’re “just not into” writing this week, there might be a few completely logical explanations as to why. You might be bored with your current project and are debating whether or not to keep working on it. You might be preoccupied with something else—a life event or another story dancing around in your head. Your brain also might be trying to tell you something.
It’s really easy, once you’re dealing with brain rush, to end up burning through all the motivation and energy you’ve accumulated in coming up with (and working on) many new ideas at once. Engrossed in what you’re working on, you might not even notice you’ve worn yourself out. So your brain tells you so—by making you stop. You’re not supposed to push through it; you need to rest. And if that rest period takes a week, fine. Start up again next week, refreshed and ready to go.
2. You forgot to put it in your schedule
Maybe you intended to, and your calendar just filled up all of a sudden. Maybe you didn’t, because you’re a person and you can only handle so much stress in one week. Maybe you did put it on your schedule, but had to push it aside to make room for something else.
Scheduling out time to write, as often as you feel you want or need to, works for some and doesn’t for others. If you want to make time to write often, and writing isn’t the only thing on your agenda, at least try making it part of a set routine. See how it goes. That might be the only way you can assure yourself you’re going to make continuous progress despite busyness.
3. You had more important things to do
This is an honest, completely reasonable cause for not getting any writing done. You’re just busy, and not just busy reading or playing video games (though that might also be a factor to consider). You have work, school, family, friends, a cat. Things just got in the way. Does that make you a “bad writer”?
Of course it doesn’t. It makes you a human being. Didn’t get any writing done this week, or not as much as you wanted? That’s okay. You took care of what you needed to take care of, and that’s what matters the most.
Writing isn’t always going to be at the top of your priority list, but that doesn’t make you any less of a writer. In fact, it makes you a better one. Would you really have been able to focus all your attention on your story/article/book/etc. if you’d had other, more important things on your mind?
Writing often comes second. Sometimes you can make the time to get it done, and sometimes you can’t. That’s just the life of a writer in a virtual nutshell.
When you do have some writing time planned and plenty of room for it in your busy schedule, here’s how to make the most of it.
A pretty big component of a successful life as a writer is being able to get a lot of writing done. You’ll have good days and productive weeks, and you’ll have awful days and entire weeks you barely get anything done. It’s all part of the process, and certainly nothing to be stressed about or ashamed of.
Listen to your brain. Schedule out time to get it done and prioritize. Instead of trying to make up for lost time, focus on moving forward at a steady pace. You’re going to get it done. Often, it just takes time.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.