What Keeps Us From Writing?
In this month, we examine the obstacles that keeps us from writing and/or achieving our goals. Most of the trip-ups seem to fall in one of four P’s: Personal, Psychological, Professional, and Publishing.
I’m going to start with Personal…probably because it is the most obvious. Family, friends, work, all are demanding of your time.
As I see it, for the average writer, life begins at about five to six a.m. with either the animals or the children demanding to be fed. Daylight seems to trigger their hunger while you are just hoping the coffee pot hurries up. Then it is getting them off to school or the daycare (we all know how that goes) and making yourself presentable for work. You arrive back home with the kids, cook dinner, get the kids clean and to bed. And you collapse.
But there are still dishes to be done, laundry to be gathered, one more glass of water for the kid, a glass of wine for yourself. Your significant other is feeling ignored. You feel resentful because you think if the S.O. understood then you might have the energy to turn on the computer and write.
Add in other activities of daily living like appointments, working overtime, time spent with friends and family, you have a cocktail for exhaustion. Doesn’t leave much time for pursuing a writing career. So we carve out a moment here and there. Carry a notebook with us. Use your lunch hour to hop online and answer emails and notifications.
Where is the self-care? For people in this stage of life I suggest taking that lunch hour. Enjoy your kids. Make notes and plot sketches. Save them for the day you have some time to put them together. Make sure you have a backup save in case the kids pour Kool-Aid on the computer.
Each person has their own individual schedule. Some don’t have children. Some work two jobs or part-time. It all comes down to making sure to take care of yourself. As the old saying says: If you don’t do it, ain’t nobody gonna do it.
It may take three years to get a first draft. So be it. There isn’t a time limit on creativity. This is one pressure you can relieve. Your writing should be a pleasurable pursuit. I’m not telling you to stop writing, just to not stress on it. Remove that one obstacle from your daily routine. Do what you can, when you can, and do it with a calm mind.
That same advice extends to other personal issues. Illness…in the short term, go to bed and get better. Long term illness? On your good days, write on. Bad days…don’t feel bad about not writing.
Divorce? Moving? Kids are having problems at school? Take care of family business first, then write. You will find your writing will be much better when it is not forced.
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