If your September has been anything like my September, then you have been a busy bee. School started, so my days are filled with teaching, lesson planning, and after-school activities. (Thank you #51Writers for today’s topic of Oxford commas. As you can see, I am definitely on #teamoxfordcomma!)
Okay, so we’re busy. What is the problem exactly?
My novel is suffering! That’s the problem. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had any quality writing time since July’s Camp NaNo event. I was working on the second round of revisions for my paranormal mystery novel, and I’m still not finished.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still writing in order to use mentor pieces in my classroom, but that’s not helping my novel. Which leads me to the big problem… What do we do when our writing takes a back seat?
1. Figure out why you’re not writing.
When faced with several non-writing days in a row, take a few minutes to analyze the reason or reasons. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Do I have writer’s block? (No, I know what I want to write next.)
- Do I know which step of the writing process I’m on, or what I need to do with this step? (Yes, I’m working on revisions at the moment.)
- Am I struggling to complete my first draft? (No, my first draft is finished… This particular one is, anyway.)
- Am I unsure where my brainstorming is leading? (No, I’m not working on brainstorming.)
- Do I have all my writing tools available? (Yes, I have everything I need. I could probably use a bit more time, though.)
- Am I simply busy with everyday life? (Yes! That’s it!)
2. Stop feeling guilty for not writing.
That’s it. I give you permission to not feel guilty when you don’t get to write. Many people will tell you to write every day. Well, yes… That is ideal, but it’s not always achievable.
Think about the goals you’ve set for yourself. Writing every day is beneficial. We all know that. However, if your past few months have been as busy as mine, then writing each day hasn’t happened.
It’s okay. Don’t feel guilty. Instead, feel excited when you do get the chance to write. Build up that momentum to hopefully continue to write the next day or even a few times that week.
If you keep attaching negative feelings to your writing (guilt), then writing will lose the thrill when you do get the chance to sit down again. Attach the positive feelings that made you fall in love with writing to begin with!
3. Write when you can.
My best writing time is in the evening when my kiddos are in bed for the night. As I determined above, my life is simply filled with all sorts of other tasks right now, so writing isn’t a top priority. (I can already see some of your faces…)
What do you mean writing isn’t a top priority?
It’s true. I don’t know about you, but I have a family. I have a day job. I have other tasks taking over my writing time. That doesn’t mean that I don’t write, though. Sometimes, in order to curb the feelings of guilt completely, you simply have to write when you can:
- Wake up a little early.
- Write during your break at work.
- Write during your lunch break at work. (Don’t forget to eat, too.)
- Write in the evening.
- Write when the house is silent.
- Write while you’re sitting in your car before you go into work (leave a little early).
- Set a timer, and write for only that amount of time.
- Set aside specific days, and write a few times a week.
The most important thing here is figuring out what works best for you. We all know that in order to become better writers, we have to write. Try a couple different things until something works for you. My big one lately has been the timer. Every ten minutes helps me get a little closer to the end of my novel.
What is your point, exactly?
It’s okay to have some off days… Even when they all stick together and form off months. The trick is making sure that you are still writing when you can and feeling positive about the progress you do make.
Just be you.
Share with me in the comments: how do you handle writing when it takes a backseat to life? What do you do? How often do you still write?
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