One of the biggest frustrations I hear from new writers is that they can’t find the time to write. Because let’s face it, the writing and editing is the hard part, the imagining is where the fun is.
For several months, life was tough. It was stressful, and it felt like I was being tossed wild pitches from every direction. So, a few things got dropped. My story writing…the blog…the newsletter.
I’ve found that these things get dropped for several reasons:
You try and do too much all at once instead of spreading them out. Instead of eating the elephant one bite at a time over several days or weeks, you munch on a quarter of it once a month. It leaves you full, unsatisfied, and more bloated than inflation rates.
You don’t see results
You write and publish, edit, and repeat and feel like you’ve gotten nowhere. You don’t see growth or change, or you hear crickets from your audience.
This ties in closely with Number 1. You write when the muse wants instead of a little every day. Even a bad page might have gold and can always be edited.
You don’t enjoy the process
We all need to do things in life, business, even in being creative, that we don’t want to do. (I call that accounting.) But when the process is painful every time, or there’s no joy at all, maybe it’s no longer worth doing.
Just like an exercise plan, it’s sometimes hard to stick with writing. We use life and all the excuses above to quit for a bit. But doesn’t it make it that much harder to pick it up again? It feels like you’re starting over or need to relearn skills you used to know.
The important thing is to get back to it. Here are a few things you could try to help you write again (or keep you from stopping).
The H word
Habits, habits, habits. Start a routine that works for you and play with it. And I mean routine. One day a week eating the whole elephant will have you feeling bloated, so shoot for three or more days. These don’t have to be marathons; they can be fifteen to twenty minutes at a time. I bet you’ll find you’re writing longer than that more often than you think. Remember this post about talent vs. hard work? That definitely applies here.
I’m terrible with personal deadlines and know I’ll just pass right by them and feel all the stress of lying to myself. Maybe the freedom of not having a deadline is your deal and instead, you have a time frame or word count target. Create goals that work for you.
Work with a friend or in a group of people you trust. This is where I tend to keep deadlines. If I have someone that’s expecting me to deliver, you betcha I’m going to deliver.
Let go of old habits that no longer serve you, or switch them up. Years ago, I thought writing in the evening was the only way I was going to get anything done. With my son going to school and my husband getting home late each night, I was missing out on family time. When I did write, I’d try to do it while they were watching TV and I would inevitably stop and zone out. Now I’ve found I’m writing in the afternoons. And guess what, when school starts again, I’ll have to find a new time when my creative energy isn’t on E. And that’s okay.
I hope this gives you a little push to get back into writing. Or if not back into it, create flexible habits that keep you writing in case of the unforeseeable.