Here’s something non-writers can’t seem to figure out about writers: we are multi-project production machines, and we, usually, can’t help ourselves.
Some of us are lucky enough to write every day because it’s part of our job description. That’s not always a good thing, though. What if we want to work on something else that isn’t related to our work?
Admittedly, many writers WISH they had this problem — going to work, writing all day, and then trying to figure out how to keep writing after hours without losing their minds.
Don’t worry. If you don’t have this problem, you’re still doing fine. But if you do … I have some (hopefully) helpful quick tips to help you survive the creative madness.
Create a schedule. Yes, a schedule!
People aren’t too fond of this advice, but it’s my favorite piece to hand out anyway. Schedules make a difference, even if you’re not usually into planners or virtual calendars. The “I don’t feel like it” monster will find you every evening and weekend that you’ve promised yourself you WILL write. If it’s not set in stone, chances are, it won’t happen.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. Spontaneity is creativity’s fun-loving second best friend. But you do need some kind of structure to convince yourself writing more is possible — before you actually sit down and do it, that is.
Test your limits, but don’t go too far
This is coming from someone who has written herself into creative burnout so many times it’s almost laughable (almost): push yourself, but be careful. It’s normal to want to maximize your productivity and make the best possible use of your time. But please don’t try to write 50,000 words in a week (I just made that number up). There’s no need.
For one thing, you don’t want the quality of your work — especially AT work — to suffer. And for another, you don’t want to make your brain sad.
Never forget to leave some space for ‘you’ time
Until I quit freelancing and replaced those long evening and weekend hours with Netflix, I did not do this well. I figured that “someday” I’d have time to spend a weekend on my couch not doing anything productive. That lasted almost two very long, very miserable years.
You need “you” time. Time in which you are not allowed to feel guilty for “not writing.” Time reserved only for things that do not require sitting at a desk with your fingers glued to your keyboard.
You can do this. It’s not going to be easy, but you can bet it will be worth it.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.