When You Don’t Write As Much As You Should

19 Apr

Recently, I didn’t write as much as I should have over a few weeks. Or should I say, I didn’t write as much as I thought I should have. 

Let me break it down. 

Every first of the month, I take a moment to look at my stats and see how much I’ve written. In March, I wrote significantly less than usual. Honestly, I barely wrote at all. But you know what I did do? 

I closed on my first home. We tore up the old flooring, painted every single room, including every closet and ceiling. (Did I mention sanding all the cottage cheese off every ceiling?) We renovated like crazy. We’re still renovating. But we’re making progress every single day. 

That said, my personal life obviously took priority over my writing life recently, which can spark imposter syndrome. When your writing life comes to a screeching halt, it’s hard not to notice everyone else’s word counts climbing and wondering if you just aren’t cut out for the writing life. I definitely had moments where I didn’t even feel like a writer anymore. There’s just so much pressure to write every day, to always be working on the next best thing. But it’s unrealistic. And it’s important to keep that in mind. 

Here’s some tips for when you find yourself in this position:

First, don’t beat yourself up. 

There’s no point in spending precious time thinking about all the things you didn’t do. Focus on what you can do. 

This can take a lot of self-awareness and correction. (At least, for me it does.) I beat myself up a lot. Too much, really. But I try to be conscious of what I’m thinking and doing. If the doubt bug starts to crawl in, I swat it away and try something new. 

Get creative:

While painting, my hands were obvious full, so writing was out of the question for me. But you could always use a tape recorder or speech-to-text software to keep going. Personally, that just felt like too much, so I decided to tackle an audiobook. I listened to The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene, which is a nonfiction book I’ve been meaning to pick up for another book idea. (It was awesome, by the way. Totally informative but also terrifying. The narrator is so dramatic in such a delicious way. If you want to learn about war strategies, I highly recommend it.) 

While listening, if I got to a point where something demanded my attention, I would stop to take off my painter’s gloves and type a few notes on my phone. I ended up finishing the book so quickly that I had time to download a “for fun” book, too. (These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong is amazing. Just saying.) 

Accept the situation that you’re in and know that it will pass. (Or, if it doesn’t, trust that you will adjust.) 

Basically, as a writer, you’re not going to write every day. Maybe a whole season will pass without many words. Maybe a year. What matter is that you keep going and do your best when you are capable of chasing the dream. 

This goes to say: There is no amount you “should” be writing. There’s the amount you can write and the amount you want to write. Often, these two ideals conflict,and that confliction can cause anxiety. 

Being aware of where they collided—and how you feel—can help you side-step it and course correct. Or not. 

Maybe the amount you “should” be writing is exactly the amount you wrote today, 

~SAT

!! ANNOUNCEMENT TIME !!

I miss blogging! When I first started blogging in 2012, I blogged every other day. (Which blows my mind now.) Nowadays, I only blog once a month, but that is soon changing! 

I’m now going to blog twice a month: on the first and third Monday of every month. (And maybe a few extra days in between.)

Did I mention the giveaways? I’m planning some really fun giveaways to appear in the blog posts, so I hope you stick around. The first one will go up on Monday, May 3.

I’ll also be revisiting some of my more popular posts over the years and updating them with new tips and tricks. 

I can’t wait!  

If there’s an old post of mine that you love, please let me know. I’d love to re-tackle it!

6 Responses to “When You Don’t Write As Much As You Should”

  1. Sarcasticus Rex April 19, 2021 at 11:05 am #

    This blog hit home, big time. I always feel like I’m an imposter writer. Oh, I see you have another blog “I’m a Writer with Imposter Syndrome”, guess I’ll read that next! But I always feel my life is too busy to settle down and pull my stories into reality. My work days are long (5am to 5pm), I’m a care-giver for my Mom who lives with me, which can be busy, depending on what she can do or needs, then, I just want some down-time to detox from work, which leaves me little time to get my ass in gear. It is comforting to hear others with similar concerns. But I’m going to use any advice I read about to improve my writing status from “imposter” to… “non-imposter”?
    Anyways, thanks for the blog.

    • Shannon A Thompson April 19, 2021 at 1:24 pm #

      That is a busy schedule! First, give yourself credit for everything you accomplish every day, not just your writing. It sounds like you are up to a lot of very important things! If you can fit writing in, even better. I find my notetaking app on my phone helps a lot. It’s amazing how many words you can get down during little breaks here and there.
      I hope you enjoy the other post, too!
      ~SAT

      • Sarcasticus Rex April 19, 2021 at 1:36 pm #

        I did enjoy the other post. You are quite right. I have to focus on what I have done, as opposed as to what I haven’t.

      • Shannon A Thompson April 19, 2021 at 4:58 pm #

        So glad to hear it! I believe in you!
        ~SAT

  2. Angie Neto April 19, 2021 at 1:14 pm #

    Hi Shannon, your post definitely felt like you were describing me. I’ve been struggling with guilty feelings about my lack of writing. It’s been months since I had any inspiration to write anything. At times like this I’ve always been able to write poetry but even that seems an impossibility now too.
    It helps to know I’m not alone and there are others struggling with this too. Thanks for sharing this post.

    • Shannon A Thompson April 19, 2021 at 1:25 pm #

      *hugs* I’m glad the post helped! I’ve definitely been there, and I hope you find some time where you feel like writing soon. 💜
      ~SAT

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