when you have to write & you’re not at your best

imageLife is hectic.

My life is very hectic right now.

In my personal and professional life, I have quite a bit going on. And to me, that’s putting it lightly, but I’m trying so hard not to make this completely about me…ish.

When life is doing its thing, sometimes your writing schedule gets shifted around. Sure, you can schedule time all you like for certain times of day to make sure you get your editing and word counts in, but you are not guaranteed that time is going to fall when you’re at your “best.”

If you recall, I posted previously about writing during your best time of day. Morning, afternoon, evening, middle of the night– everyone is wired differently. And, if you remember, I told you I was a morning person.

However, lately, I haven’t been able to write at my designated “best” time.

I used to be able to rise at the crack of dawn, make a cup of coffee, and sit down ready to face the world of my creation before dealing with the real one.

That’s not my reality right now, though. And that happens. Life happens.

So what do you do?

Just. Keep. Writing.

This past week I’ve been working on edits, which is incredibly exciting, intimidating, and exhausting. After my day has finally come to a close and I sit down to start my writer’s life routine, I stare at the beverage of my choice and debate if I should bite the bullet and make it caffeinated.

I have such an old soul that if I drink caffeine late, I’m up all night– and I’m not a “spring chicken” who can do that anymore because I have other little lives to take care of during the day. But I also know that if I don’t have something, I’m not going to hit my goals for the day.

Fine a new strategy.

Caffeine isn’t always the answer (although it does usually help). But finding a new way to look at things, or work, can be very useful. For example, if I’m writing in the morning my favorite spot in the house is the nursery/guest room. It gets the most light, and I can get comfy on the guest bed with the sunlight streaming in and feel so inspired.

My writing lately, though, is at night. So if I were to cozy up in the bed, odds are I’d fall asleep. So I sit at our kitchen table in our straight-back chairs and try to tone out the white noise coming over the baby monitor as my fingers move. I’ll walk around often, to keep the blood flowing and my eyelids open, and I do my very best to keep the lights nice and bright so I’m alert.

Know when to keep going and when to stop.

There comes a point with writing and editing where you know if you’re doing poorly. Whether it’s because you’re tired or hopelessly distracted, if you find that you’re mind is constantly being pulled from what you’re making yourself do, take a breather. Pushing through might seem like a good plan, but if you don’t stop you might be making extra work for yourself in the end– and you could be losing some valuable sleep, play, cleaning– whatever– time.

I’m not trying to contradict myself.

Yes, you need to keep writing. Just because you have a schedule shift does not mean you should forego writing until it’s back the way you want it. BUT if you’re pushing the words to come out unnaturally, better to take a breath, find a distraction, and get back to it in a few minutes, or an hour, or the next day. Whatever is going to work best for you.

As authors, we deal with timelines. Our writing, editing, querying, publishing– they’re all going to involve times when we have to buckle down and DO IT, and it’s not always going to be ideal.

But when has being a writer ever been EASY?

 

 

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