I don’t know about other writers, but I find the hardest thing for me to do is to stay focused, and keep up with the goals I set for myself. Sometimes things come up, the dog has to go for a walk, your kids take priority, you have a day job. It can be hard to balance, and it’s like everyone else knows exactly how to balance it and finish that book in a day. And there are blogs out there on how to manage time and how to avoid distractions, but what if the distraction is just how you feel? What if it isn’t the laundry machine that is stealing your precious time, but you yourself? Here’s what helps me when I don’t really know what I’m doing anymore:
1. Start small.
Yes, it’s nice to punch out 3000 words a day. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again. Maybe you’ve never done it, and maybe you never will, but it doesn’t make you any less a writer than I am. As long as you’re writing, whether it be 5 words or 500 or 5000, you’re a writer. So start small. Try a sentence, try two. Set a timer and see how many you can get out in under three minutes!
2. Change your venue.
I tend to write in two places in the house, and that’s it. But I find when I don’t take my laptop when I go out for a coffee all I can think about is what I’m working on, even when I’m feeling less than my best. So go be that person that sits alone for three hours at a table for four, hunched over their laptop muttering to themselves (be careful what you mutter though, mystery writers). I find having a bit of background noise can really help when I’m writing. Plus you can listen to people’s conversations and write it down, just like your mother told you not to do.
3. Get dressed.
I’m currently unemployed and a recent graduate. That means I have long days stretched ahead of me filled with bunny slippers, video games, and doing whatever the heck I want (along with sending out approx. ten billion resumes). Sounds nice? So not. If I lounge in my PJ’s all day, I feel like I’m home sick or something, and have an excuse to not do anything. So get dressed. It’ll help you feel productive, trust me. And when you feel productive, you might be able to get some writing done.
Those are three things I try to do when I’m not feeling great. Have any yourself? Put it in the comments!