when life & writing overwhelm you

It is very easy for life to get the best of you.

And when I say you, I mean me.

Oftentimes life does not go as you wish. Days produce nothing but a longer to-do list for tomorrow, and months seem pointless when you haven’t reached that writing goal that’s been pushed to the back burner  because of family, or your daytime job, or personal reasons.

Believe me, I get it.

More than not, I find myself at war with my to-do list. Instead of cleaning my kitchen, I sit down to write for thirty minutes. The next morning, I’ll sometimes regret it. I mean, who can work when the kitchen is a mess? Not me. Or instead of writing, I’ll zone out in front of Netflix when the day is done and I’ll tell myself, “I’ll write twice as much tomorrow.”

If you remember a few past posts of mine, you know this is typical for me.

But the thing is, your writing is yours.

Sure, you may be stressed out about edits or deadlines. You may be stressed out over questions, blog posts, interviews, reviews–whatever. When it comes down to it, though: your writing is yours. Even if you signed away the rights for the movie, or for a translation, or any of that– your writing will always be yours.

And that shouldn’t overwhelm you.

I don’t want to be one to tell you what should and shouldn’t overwhelm you, how you should and shouldn’t feel. Everything in this life comes with a balance, and you have to find yours.

So here’s what I do when life & writing start getting to me and stressing me out, when really, they shouldn’t.

DO A LITTLE DANCEgiphy

Put on your favorite dancing music and shake it. There is nothing like movement to help you feel better.

 

EAT SOME CHOCOLATE

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Chocolate is actually proven to raise your spirits. Seriously. I read it somewhere. Just a hershey kiss could be what it takes.

 

TAKE A NAP OR GO TO BED EARLIER

giphyKids aren’t the only ones who get cranky when they don’t get enough sleep. While you might think another cup of coffee and burning the midnight oil is the way to go, sometimes you do just need to slow down.

 

JOURNAL

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Your feelings, fears, excitement, dreams– get it all out so you can clear your head. It’s amazing how much better you feel after you put into words what’s overwhelming you and driving you crazy.

 

What I’m still learning– and probably will always be learning– is when things are getting to me… it’s usually best to clean the closet and let go of things that aren’t necessary. It’s hard to put yourself first sometimes, but especially when you get to a breaking point, it’s a necessity. You can’t give to others if you’re running on empty.

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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!

life & balance & seasons

imageOften times, I run through a day complaining about how little time I have. How much there is to do. What I need to plan for the rest of the week. Who I need to call or who I should get in touch with.

Go, go, go.

It’s so easy these days. I’m the worst at getting disconnected from living and reveling in this beautiful life, and instead just looking at it like a long to-do list.  Something to get through. Something to get DONE. And then, even if every day is slightly different, it all seems monotonous.

How sad is that?

I want to make a name for myself. I want to have a social life. I want to invest in my family. I want to have a foundation in Christ. I want to reach others. I want to lead by example. I want to have a clean house. I want to have a pretty yard. I want to do Pinterest projects.

Balance.

That was is my word for 2016. I had this idea that I would find the magical way to balance everything I wanted to do without stress and with a thankful heart/good attitude.

Admittedly, I probably didn’t realize how great of a goal that really was, or how heavy that word truly is.

“There is TIME for everything and there is a SEASON for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1

There is time for everything. There is a season for everything.

It just might not happen during the time I want it. Or the season I’m in may not be the one I’m looking for.

Now I’m trying to enjoy life. To bask in the season of my life that is the present, and remember that I can’t do it all alone. And if I keep trying, I’m going to keep falling on my face.

Right now, I’m putting one foot in front of the other and keeping my eyes up instead of down.

 

What do you do to stay in the present and balance what you want to do, and what you need to do, and what you “should” be doing?