Sustaining your writing during stressful times

Like many of you, I’ve been in quarantine for 25 days. I’m in that high-risk population because of my Cystic Fibrosis.

The first few days were spent making lofty plans to finish a project, start projects, and edit existing works.

By the second week, I was stressed. I was afraid of getting sick, overwhelmed by the news, and becoming frustrated by my lack of writing progress. I had to take a step back and refocus my energy on the things I could control: what I did with and how I spent my time.

What do you do to help refocus your writing energy?

  • Tap into your writing community

Tapping into my writing community keeps me focused and inspired on my goals. It is a hub for all things writing, marketing and motivation. An added bonus is being surrounded by like-minded creators.

  • Show up

Skipping writing time because of lack of motivation is easier than planting your butt in the chair. But I can assure you, one hundred new words consistently each day is better than zero. You can’t edit what you don’t have.

  • Get inspired

I don’t know about you, but this pandemic has given me new perspective. I suspect millions of people are going to devote time into pursuing their dreams. I also imagine some of those dreams are of being self-employed and not dependent on a 9-5. 

Some of us are realizing how vulnerable we are and want to change that.

The good news? Authors are already on that path of entrepreneurship. 

For others, getting inspired isn’t anything as drastic. It’s outlining a new story, developing a simple marketing plan, or designing a new cover.

  • Small steps

Part of my frustration was making a huge list of things to accomplish during my quarantine time. Instead, focus on small achievable goals that can be celebrated when completed.

Write for short periods of time each day or on consistent days each week. Depending on your output, 30-45 mins might be enough to feel productive. With the kids home, 15-30 mins of speed writing will suffice. The goal is forward movement using small recognizable steps.

How are you maintaining your creativity?

What I’m reading: Become a Successful Indie Author 

Feel good story: After 13 years of social distancing, giant pandas finally mate

TRICKS AND SUGGESTIONS

TO KEEP YOUR WORD COUNT MOVING

1. Writer’s Block or Story Stalling

An empty page is not inspirational, many times we stare at one until we go blind, hoping for lightening to strike, to get the juices flowing again. This usually occurs when you are not as familiar as you need to be with your characters. You need to go back to the beginning, when you first introduced them and find out more of what makes them tick. They have a story to tell and you need to do it.

2. Stop Writing When You Still Have Something to Write.

When you know what is going to happen next it is easier to get started when you get back to it. The momentum isn’t lost, you just continue the flow you had at a later time. You won’t be facing a blank  page because you know where the story is going. So stop in the middle of a great scene or some intense dialogue, you’ll find your fingers will move you along quickly when you return.

3. Don’t be Afraid of Deadlines

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

Deadlines can be your friend, they push you to write, even  if you don’t have a contract. Make a contract with yourself. Some great novels have taken years to write, then their sequels come out quickly after, that is the value of a deadline. They push, gently, but you are aware. Be fearless.

4. Keep a Word Count Tally

Writing can be daunting at times (most times), but a word count tally at the end of  every session will show your progress. On a day when you feel you’ve accomplished nothing, a word count tally will prove you’ve accomplished something, sometimes more than you think. It is encouraging when you are feeling less so.

5. Take a Break

If the words aren’t flowing, go for a break. Step away from the computer, doing a mindless chore like washing the dishes, taking the dog for a walk ( that’s good for you too ). When your brain is focused on other tasks you might just find a solution to your problem. It works for me, many a good idea has come while taking a shower.

You might also like: Who Do Authors Write For

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