Monday, January 18, 2016

Writing when Life Throws you a Curveball

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." 

I'm not sure who originally said this, but I think it holds true in all things, especially in writing. The start of a New Year often brings forth a plethora of good intentions. I know I have a lot of them, mostly to finish half-started manuscripts. But what happens when life gets in the way? What happens when life throws you a major curve ball that you weren't expecting? It can be difficult, no matter how good your intentions are, to keep moving forward with your goals.

Honestly, I'm no stranger to this. Two years ago, I had a pretty major life event that blindsided me. I'm not about to get into all the dirty details, but I will say it involved my ex-husband and the custody of our two daughters. Everything I wanted to do came to a screeching halt. I couldn't focus on anything.

Leading up to the Christmas holiday, I was blogging and creating newsletters and promoting and writing new words. I was in the zone. Then the holiday came and I was busy with shopping and cleaning and decorating and baking. The day after Christmas, I drove to NY to pick up my daughter. She spent a week here in Michigan with us then I drove her home.

And now that everything is done and life is returning to normal, I'm struggling to get back in the groove. All of my good intentions and goals are now looming over my head, and I'm sitting here feeling guilty because I'm not working on one of my many manuscripts. So, what am I doing about it?

1. Reading -- Every time I read a book that I like, I get this surge of excitement to want to create something that will inspire others the same way I'd just been inspired. That often gives me the kick in the pants I need to get back to my own writing.

2. Blogging -- Sometimes taking the pressure off myself and blogging helps tremendously. There's no pressure and no "rules" when it comes to blogging. I can say whatever I want, and it really helps get the creative juices flowing.

3. Going Old School -- When all else fails, I get out a pen and a notebook. I don't always write a story, but just outlining or creating character sketches helps.

4. Giving Myself Permission to Take a Break -- We're all only human, and sometimes we need a break. And you know what? It's okay to take one. If you need a day or a week off, take it! Recharge your batteries. Do something else you enjoy.

5. Exercising -- I know, I know. This a dirty, dirty word. lol. I'm not suggesting you run out and join a gym or start an intensive workout routine. But get out of the house and take a walk. Go for a jog. Take your kids to the park (if applicable). There's nothing like endorphins to get your creativity flowing!

So, whether you're dealing with work-related stress, family drama, or something completely different.... like overwhelming pregnancy hormones, try employing the above methods. Is there anything I've missed? Any other tips and tricks that you use when you're trying to stay on track with your writing? Share your thoughts in the comments!