When Life Steals Writing Time

Life happens.

Loved ones get married, move home, move away, die. People get sick or injured or stab themselves in the hand whilst coring an avocado. Cars get towed and unexpected bills show up in the mailbox. While the average human being sees all of these things as hiccups to their days/months, the writer discovers them to be the greatest thief of all.

Because they steal our writing time.

In some cases, such as the injury or death of a loved one, they steal our very desire to write. The creative drives shut down and we avoid the work in progress in order to deal with the trauma in front of us. I’m not going to touch on those moments. Those … have to be lived through. There’s just no “one-size fits all” way to try and get back into the groove of writing after personal tragedy.

But for everything else – weddings, moving, change of jobs, family things – I’ve learned a trick or two to keep my work in progress foremost in mind.

1) 3×5 cards are your friend

For the last little bit I’ve had to go back to my Army days and tote 3×5 cards around with me. One card a day had to be filled, whenever I could fill it throughout the day. Yes, you need a clear filing system for these, and generally by the end of the week I was transcribing them all to the computer.

2) Let something go

In this case, I had to let the blog go for a bit. For various reasons. (That is obviously changing now.)

3) Forgive yourself

Writers have this habit of beating themselves up when they can’t reach the desk for a day. There’s a rule out there that says you have to write every day and whatnot, and while that’s partially true – you really should write as often as you can – in a world of single parents, full time jobs, family crises and such it doesn’t always happen that way.

So …

Forgive yourself.

Remember that even if you didn’t make it to the computer that day, the experiences you live in your day to day life are just as important as the time you spend writing. Because it gives you content.

4) Scrivener is the best

I only recently received Scrivener as a gift for Christmas and I have to admit I kinda love it. The virtual corkboard helps me keep track of the details I want to remember in future chapters and the physical descriptions of each character and … yes. Scrivener is awesome.

5) Sleep is not an option

At least for me it isn’t. I have to have enough rest to recharge my brain or I just can’t function. I end up staring at the computer screen until it blurs and I pass out. Not even coffee can manage to dent the fog of sleep deprivation for me.

And that’s it … Those are the things I’ve managed to learn about my personal writing habits versus the world around me. Maybe something in there can help someone else.

Hopefully.

Happy writing!

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