Friday, October 24, 2014

When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

As writers, passion is the reason we pick up a pen. I’ve never met people more motivated and enthusiastic as the writer’s I’ve met over the past few years. Passion is the reason we daydream about our stories and our characters that we come to love like real people. The reason we feel the need to share it with the world.

But what happens when passion disappears? When life gets in the way and exhaustion sets in?

One solution is to take a break, walk away and let yourself recharge—but that’s not always an option. One thing I’m learning is that sometimes motivation becomes illusive at the most inopportune times.
Right now I’m working on edits for my first novel. I have an unrevised novel that’s been sitting in a corner, collecting dust. I have two half written novels and several more I want to write. I’m a mentor for Pitch Wars and have two writers with huge potential relying on me to help them.

I’m also pregnant and preparing for a HUGE change in my life. I’m exhausted and have been through two infections in three weeks. Soon, I’m going to have newborn and then what? 

This is life and if you want to be a writer, you have to push through the struggles on occasion.
Here’s what I’ve learned: it’s okay to slack off every once in a while. You have to take care of yourself.If some nights you can’t stop your eyes from crossing and the only thing you can manage is watching an episode of Big Bang Theory, before passing out at 9p.m.-- that’s okay.

BUT! The more you put off, the more stress it adds. So as your life changes, you have to change with it. There is a fine line between discipline and pushing yourself too hard. Here are a few tips for when things are at their hardest.

1.     Plan- you know what work you need to get done so split it up and plan it out day by day so that you never get stuck with a huge load at once. 

2.     The hardest part about work is getting started, so sit down and get started. Once you’re there, things start to roll and your mind remembers what it needs to do.
3.     Be honest. There are very few times, even as a published author, that there is no leeway in a deadline. There might be consequences, but it’s do-able and believe me, it’s better to have to push back a deadline, or put something else on hold than to turn in sub-par work. I told my editor about my infections and he was very understanding about my delay in the revision. So when you’re behind and someone is waiting on you, be honest.
4.     Embrace the struggle. Use it to your advantage. Today I had to write a blog post but had trouble getting the motivation, so I wrote about my own struggles. Last year I wrote a short story inspired by writer’s block, which later won a contest. Writing is about passion and emotion. Struggle is a strong emotion. So use it. 

Writing and life don’t always go together well, but it’s never impossible. Has life ever gotten in the way of your writing? What did you do to get past it?

1 comment:

Mirka Breen said...

Give your craft its "sacred time" and barring real life-or-death don't let anything trap on it. make it a realistic amount which you may exceed but not do less. Even twenty minutes a day.
That's what worked for me, even when I had a toddler and an infant and a mother with increasing needs.