I recently told a colleague that it’s been a bad month for me. She assumed I meant that things were bad/something was wrong – you get the idea. But that’s not it at all. My problem is that it’s December. I could just as easily say it’s May.
Any writer with kids, or even just a big family, knows what I’m talking about. How do you write when you have choir concerts, orchestra concerts, band concerts, holiday pageants, charitable obligations, holiday parties, travel, company – and that’s on top of holiday cards, shopping, cleaning, decorating, cooking and baking? (If it’s May, substitute end of school year/beginning of summer for holiday) I’m exhausted just writing the list. So back to the question, how do you write when you’re going out of your mind?
I’m a big Nike fan on this topic. I say, “just do it.” I believe that in order to be a writer I must write. Now by write I also mean non-prose work related to my WIP. So it may be plotting, or blogging, or character development, or editing. But I’m determined to spend a minimum of twenty minutes a day doing work related to my writing, even on the most hectic of days. And twenty minutes a day is enough, for two reasons. First off, I can take comfort in the fact that I did indeed get something done. And as any writer knows, that comfort can help sustain us through a lot of self-loathing. Second, and more important, that twenty minutes may get me on a roll that carries me until I look at the clock on the corner of the screen, swear loudly, and leap up to prepare for the next thing, whatever it is. Either way, I’ve accomplished something.
So take your twenty minutes every day, even if all you can muster is a blank stare at the pages of your WIP. Do it while the dough is rising, or before you go to bed, or while your supportive family is doing the dinner dishes. Just do it.