Saturday, September 13, 2014

Too Busy to Write?

Does this remind you of someone? Anyone? Possibly yourself?
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." -John Lennon
This week has been busy. With work and obligations, I also was sick and that drains any plans of writing in my spare time right out the window.
It doesn't happen often that an entire week goes by and I haven't written, but this is one of those weeks.

For a writer like myself, it's frustrating. If I'm going to become good at something, I need to practice. More than that, writing calms me and is my most favorite past-time. Without it, I feel like a ship wandering aimlessly in the middle of the ocean.

Even though I consoled myself by reminding me that getting better should be my number one priority, and concessions need to be made in my writing life, I thought I'd take the time to blog about "busyness." It happens to the best of us, right? Too much going on....too many people around...too many kids' sporting events or obligations...too many work demands...and on and on it goes.

I get it. I really do. My previous post from a couple months ago talked about distractions. Distractions keep us busy, but that's not what I'm looking at here. I'm talking about obligations that are a part of our lives. Our kids and our significant others are important to us (or they should be...LOL). Our careers and our church or social groups are important to us. How do we juggle "busyness" with our writing habit?

Here are some of my ideas (please post a comment and tell me yours):
1. Carve out time on a calendar.
As silly as this sounds, setting aside time every day specifically for writing may work for those of us who enjoy organization and compartmentalizing of responsibilities. One of my writing peers has an alarm that goes off on her phone at the same time each day as a reminder to write that day. Most days she doesn't need it because she loves to write. But on the busy days, she says it has more than once reminded her to find the time that day to write.
2. Carry a notebook and pen with you every day and "steal" writing time.
How can you be a writer without a notebook and pen, right? I love to think of new scenes for the book I'm working on or even new ideas for books, and I'll start drafting with my handy-dandy notebook. If my day was super busy, I still feel I accomplished some aspect of my writing goals.
3. Have like-minded friends who call or email often to ask how your writing is going.
Rachel Anderson!! My writing buddy!! She keeps me on track, and I have to admit there's been a time or two or three that I had to remind her to stop being so busy and get to writing! Having someone who gets you and your love of the written word is so important to being successful as a writer.
4. Attend writing retreats or conferences.
Nothing motivates me more than attending a writing conference and being inspired. I get to hang out with some fabulous friends who all love writing and children's books as much as I do. I get to talk and discuss books and the writing business all weekend long. I get to listen to other people's story ideas, and I get to share mine with them. I get to stop being "busy" with my life, step away and come back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to get writing! (SCBWI-Michigan, here I come! See you all next weekend!)
5. Don't beat yourself up, but don't make excuses.
Life is busy. We're busy. But that excuse only lasts so long. If writing is your passion, you will find time to make it happen. For instance, this week I was super busy at work, but most weeks I am busy, so that's no excuse. This week I was also very sick. So I'm not going to beat myself up for going to bed really early every night, for drinking tea with a heating pack around my neck without picking up my laptop. But now that I'm on the mend, the trend of not writing cannot continue.

Don't be too busy. If your writing is ever going to take off, it's going to be because you made it a priority.

Here's to us!

"Life happens and I write about it wherever I am." -Melissa Etheridge