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.
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,
!! 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!