Even as I sit down to begin this blog, my toddler toddles over with a high-pitched squeak to protest. Writing is difficult work no matter what medium you try to birth into the world on a good day when you have peace and quiet and you’re alone. It’s just you and your computer in the ultimate showdown. Cue the theme to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly here and toss a few tumbleweeds down the lane. Yeah, even on a day when you set aside time to write, it seems like there’s a struggle to get the motivation or inspiration to write. There’s dishes and laundry staring at me accusingly, waiting to be done. Then add things like Facebook or Twitter notifications, the phone ringing or text messages going off, and a toddler to top it all off.
People have often asked me, “How do you do it?” I understand this one thing: life goes on.
I write around the distractions. Nap time becomes my favorite time of the day and I write then. I set my daughter down to play or watch her videos. She has a little bit of independence and I write until she wants my attention, for food, a changing or play. I download apps like Google Docs or EverNote on my phone and I am able to write on my phone if baby wants to snuggle or sleep in my lap. These apps sync up or are cloud-based so no worries there.
I also don’t mind writing in small bursts. Actually, I’ve found that I’ve made fewer mistakes writing this way. If I only have time to write one paragraph before it’s time to make dinner, hey, that’s one paragraph more than I had yesterday. Do I feel cheated? Not really. Looking back, there were times I’ve scored about four thousand words a day everyday for one to two weeks. And then nothing for months. So, OK, maybe I don’t write like I used to–that is to say, in bulk–but in a way, the old saying “slow and steady wins the race” applies here.
I switch between stories. A lot. Tired of writing horror, I’ll switch to writing erotic romance. Or if my creative side has flat-lined, I head over to edit my novel. This helps make the most of my time so I’m not stuck twiddling my thumbs hoping prune juice will help my writer’s blockage.
Lastly, I remember that it’s OK to actually live. I don’t make myself write when I don’t feel up to it. I know you have to step outside of writing to sometimes get perspective on what it is you’re trying to say. If the purpose of art is to imitate life, then it’s important to remember what living looks like. Guilt-tripping myself that I’m not writing is just going to give me performance anxiety. And then I end up with a bad case of exposition dysfunction and that’s always embarrassing. 😉