Writing when its Hard

I have something of a reputation among my writer friends for being very prolific and productive. I write a lot. I always have a number of projects in the fire and I accomplish them regularly. I have my tenth novel coming out soon. I have another five in que for the end of this year and the start of next. I have several more in writing or planning stages.

Some writers are intimidated by that. You shouldn’t be. I am just a person, like anyone else. In fact, this might make you feel better. I’ve gotten almost nothing done this week. I’ve blown through two planned blog posts and only done the absolute minimum of writing.

I’ve been sick and working a lot. That’s not an excuse, just an explanation. It’s vacation time at work and I’ve been working extra to cover for people who are off. I was hoping to catch up towards the end of this week but I had a tooth abscess and opted to prioritize my health over writing. This is life, regardless of who you are. Shit happens.

How do you write when it’s hard?

For most writers hard times include stressful stretches of life where writing is the last thing on their mind. I blow through these times with no problem. Writing is a huge stress relief for me, even when it’s tough, emotional writing.

Where I struggle is plain old mundane busy. Creativity is hard work and writing when you don’t feel well is tough. Non-creative people don’t understand, but I do. So do your fellow writers.

I am usually good about arranging my life so I have time to write. That means saying no to some things I might like to do, but will not lead to my dream. But even I get busy from time to time.

There are two secrets to writing at times like this.

Writing less is better than not writing. Post that on a wall somewhere. The less time you have to write, the more important it becomes to write at least a little during that time. Even if you only get a page or two done, you are still moving forward. If you can write for five minutes every day, that’s at least keeping the habit alive. When your life opens up again, you will hit the ground running.

For me that means that three hour/three thousand word writing sessions give way to half hour/five hundred word sessions. So be it. I am still in the game and tomorrow will be a new day. (Actually tomorrow is my appointment with the oral surgeon, so likely the day after will be a new day.)

The second secret is forgiveness. You are only human. You will only get so far beating yourself up for failing to meet one goal today. Accept that we all have days/weeks that don’t go the way we like. Commit to doing better when you feel better and move on.


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