they are the exception. your writing is the rule.

imageEvery day I plan to write at night time. When I’ve taken care of everything on my to-do list, finished clean-up duty, and snuggled in to the couch with a blanket and my laptop.

And almost every day, I never get much, if any, writing done.

My name is Emily, and I am a morning person.

You’d think the progression of life would have changed the way I feel about mornings, but I have always been the one to get up early and seize the day. I feel most at peace when I have my first cup of coffee, sit down with my journal and planner, and figure out how the day is going to go.

It’s just how I am. But somehow I have yet to learn that that’s the time I should be writing.

We all have the idealistic relationship with writing. Let’s sit down with a snack, our laptop, our thoughts, and hash out a few thousand words in one sitting. Some people can do that. Some people have the luxury to do that, but most of us don’t.

 

Let’s be real.

 

So what do we do? How do we figure out the best time to write? And more importantly, how do we stick to it and make it happen? At what point do we need to put other activities to the side so we can dedicate more time to our writing? 

Figuring out the right time of day to write can help you when it comes to making writing the rule, not the exception.

 

TAKE NOTES

Are you grumpy in the morning and bouncing off the walls around 2pm? That’s your high-time! While you may not always be able to dedicate your best time of day to writing, at least find five minutes to jot some things down to feel accomplished.

 

BE INTENTIONAL 

Be intentional about making extra time to dig deep and work on your project, especially on the weekends or holidays. I’ve found myself setting my alarm for what may seem as an ungodly hour, but it works wonders for me to get those words on paper. When I’m able to seize those extra moments, I start my day feeling accomplished instead of getting to the end of the day feeling guilty for doing “nothing.”

 

DON’T FEEL GUILTY

There are always going to be times when you miss a moment or opt out of it to do something else. Writing may be your life and it may be your job and it may be your passion, but you’re always going to have other things to do, too. Don’t beat yourself up for not getting up one morning because you had a late-night with the baby. Or not staying up and writing but instead going out with friends.

 

There are always going to be special occasions. Visitors. Things to do. But the important thing is that they are the exception, and your writing is the rule the majority of the time.

 

You got this. Set that alarm and drink some more coffee—you’ve got some writing to do.

 

Like this post? Check out: finding the time to be a writer and writing through the distractions, too! 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

balancing writing, editing, querying, & writing some more

balancing writing editing querying writing moreI’m in a precarious spot with my writing life right now. I am currently on my first round of submissions to editors, I’m anticipating the possibility of edits, and all the while, I’m trying to write my new work-in-progress.

It’s exciting and nerve-racking, alternating between the two each nanosecond.

This isn’t much different than when you’re querying agents, deciding whether you should keep chipping away at the book you’re seeking representation for, or start a new book as you wait. You pace, debate, decide, change your mind…and change it again.

Where is the balance? How do you function with so many things happening at the same time?

Never fear, my advice is here! (Just remember I’m still learning, too.)

STAY CALM

No matter what you’re doing, your nerves won’t help you. Sit down and organize what you have happening so that you can see it on paper. And I do mean paper. WRITE IT OUT. There is something about actually forming the words yourself, not just typing them, that helps clear your mind and settle the nerves. Once you have everything on paper, it’ll help you prioritize what you should attack first and breathe while doing it.

GO IN ORDER

Edit BEFORE you query. Not during or after. BEFORE.

While you’re querying, have a new project to work on. Even if it’s not a new book—have something to keep you from going back and second-guessing the book you’ve released into the wild.

HAVE PATIENCE

Hardest. Thing. Ever.

I say this half-heartedly because I’m awful at following it myself. If you’re querying agents, be patient and know you’ll hear back, and eventually you might stop jumping when your email goes off. Same thing applies if you’re on submission with publishers.

But let’s be real, those heart palpitations when you see an email from an/your agent will probably never go away. I know mine haven’t. But having a new project to work on while this is happening will keep you focused as a writer and invested in something new.

DON’T STOP WRITING

Much like anything else with writing, it’s good to have something to distract you: a new project, a craft, an event—anything to keep your mind off your email and your submitted book.

But don’t let querying or being on submission be an excuse to stop writing. A writer has to write, and if you stop just because your nerves are racing, you’re going to lose some of your momentum, and you could be withholding potential for your next great idea.

A break is needed from time to time, but don’t let yourself get out of the habit of writing. Ever.

Once you hit submit, have the confidence that your words speak for themselves.

And then get back to writing some more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

working your way over, under, & around writer’s block

writers blockI’ve been suffering from writer’s block as of late. As in I don’t know what to write about. As in I’m stuck. As in my brain is glitching. As in I have nothing to write about.

As in I haven’t been writing.

Every writer in the history of, well, ever, has suffered from writer’s block. Although writing is a passion, a need, a calling, sometimes those words are blocked from the flowing circuits of your brain and you just don’t know what to do. You are left staring at a blank screen as the blinking cursor mocks you.

You can’t always push through, so to speak. You can’t always push and punch that block until it crumbles. So what other options do you have?

 

GO AROUND IT

Although that block may seem like the Great Wall of China, you do have the option to go around it. Step away and do something else. Get outside, play in the dirt, do something crafty, bake some cookies, dance to music—do something that is a good distraction but something that will keep the wheels turning. You’re not giving up. You’re giving your mind a much-needed break as you reassess, re-strategize, and attack again.

 

GO OVER IT

Stuck on a paper or a part of the plot? Skip ahead. Go over the tricky part and write something you know will happen later. Sure, once you go back to that tricky part it may change, but it keeps you writing and makes you feel like you still got something done during your writing time. Also, going ahead may help you figure out why that block was there in the first place.

 

DIG

This is more than going under. This is digging deep. Write like your life depends on it, and see what happens. You may not get the words you need out on paper, but you’ll get something there. It may be a new project is clouding your brain, or something in your personal life is in the way, or what you’re writing is too personal—but you have to dig in and follow that tunnel to find the light at the end.

Keep writing.

If you know nothing else is going to help, then Type. Scribble. Scratch. Delete. Type More. Soon enough, that block will fall through, and you’ll be on the other side waving at it as you keep going.

 

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!

writing through the distractions

I am the worst at taking my own advice.

Here I am trying to write a piece about writing through the distractions–and I’m distracted. A load of laundry that needs to be put in the dryer, an appointment that needs to be changed, activities that need to be planned, books that need to be researched…

See what I mean?

Distractions.

writing through the distractions

We always have to-do lists, let’s be real. Even if you don’t write yours down or you’re REALLY good at not thinking about the things you need to get done, they’re there, lurking in the shadows of your brain.

And that’s just part of it.

Nowadays, there are more distractions than the things you need, or even want, to do. There’s Facebook and snapchat and Twitter and Instagram and, well, Google. The world is at your fingertips on your phone, computer, watch…you get it. There’s no escaping the distractions.

So how do we sit down and clear our mind to let words find form on pages so that we may follow through with our passion, our work, dare I say–our calling?

KNOW YOUR BEST TIME OF DAY

Don’t plan to write in the morning if you know you’ll be distracted by the to-dos, the planning, the emptiness of the day before you. Don’t plan to write at night if you know you’ll be too tired.

Plan to write (yes, plan) when you know you’re at your best. While creativity can strike at times we don’t expect, and in those cases we have to go with it, still have a time PLANNED in case other things cloud your day.

CLEAR YOUR MIND

Totally easier said than done. When that time you’ve planned finally comes, find a way to zone out. Whether it’s playing some music or baking before you write–do something to clear your mind and make way for those words. I usually make a list of what I still need to do and then bake while listening to classical music.

Yeah, I do it all, just to make sure I’m in the zone.

ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE

There’s no escaping the world. If you don’t turn off your phone, someone may call or text. If you have kids, one may bust in and throw off your groove. If you have roommates, they can be noisy or bug you. That’s just how it is. The important thing is to set aside that time, and if it gets interrupted, get back to it as quickly and the best as you can.

Writing is work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. Writing, revising, editing—it’s a cycle that we must go through, but you get something at the end.

You get to say:

“I wrote a book.”

And even better, someone else will get to read it someday. It’s a constant fight to get your words into the hands of your readers, but they will be so glad you did.

 

 

This post was originally written for & posted on Stark Contrast Editing‘s blog. Make sure to check out Katelyn’s amazing new site and the services she and others offer. Plus, more posts by yours truly!