When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

Life seems to get crazy at the most inconvenient times. But that’s, well, life, right? So how do you get back on track with your writing when your schedule and your routine are blown completely off course?
Let me tell you, I have high hopes for 2018. I had high hopes for January. But, January has kind of bitten me on the butt. It’s been a rough month and it’s been filled with unexpected joys as well. In the grand scheme of things, are the issues I’m facing life-altering? Are they major hurdles or blockades? Absolutely not. I’m lucky and blessed to be where I am. But, like everyone else, I still have to work around life and get my project done. So, in addition to my writing, here’s what I’ve been working with.
  1. I’ve been sick since Christmas. I’m doing another round of antibiotics to try to nip this lingering cold/cough. For many days I’ve been sick, I have been so worn out after work, that I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down at my computer and write more.
  2. I’m packing to move. In mid-February, I’ll be in a new place, sharing a home with my boyfriend and his dog (and my Lilah of course too!). I’ve been packing, purging and organizing my belongings. This is one of my daily activities when I get home from the office and tends to eat into my writing time.
  3. I have an exciting secret writing project and my creativity is all over it. But, getting things ready has taken lots of extra brainpower. But, this is just temporary, so I’m not worried one bit.

Okay, so now that I’m done “complaining,” let’s keep moving. I’m sure you all have a variety of things that pop up. It’s life. And yes I know that none of the things I’ve listed above are terrible in any way. But what can you do to get back on track when things pop up? Remember the following:

  1. Don’t berate yourself. And also, don’t feel bad. Life is life. Your project will still be there when you get back to it.
  2. Don’t abandon your project. You’re not a failure because something else had to occupy your time and attention for a while. Very few of us have the privilege of writing full-time from home without other responsibilities.
  3. If your old routine is no longer working, try a new one. Were you writing every day before? Maybe try to commit to 3 days a week for a while until things settle down.
  4. If you self-publish, you have the privilege of moving your publication dates around. This is one of the benefits of working for yourself. For each of my projects, I’ve ended up moving the publication date back because, life just took over and I had to change my focus for a while until I could get back on track. There’s no shame in that.
Originally, I was hoping to have my first draft completed by the end of January. Clearly that’s not going to happen. My new goal? Have a complete draft before my first carpal tunnel surgery in mid-March. This is much more doable. Once our move is complete, I should be able to settle down and focus on writing again. Also, I’ll know if my project is a go or not. It’ll be a the perfect time to refocus and keep moving. For now? I’m going to sit down and write when I have the chance. I have a few writing dates on my calendar with my writer’s group and I plan to make good use of that blocked out time.
My biggest piece of advice? Don’t give up. Writing a novel is hard work and not everyone can do it. But you can! Learning to roll with the punches is a part of life and it’s a part of the life of being a writer.
How do you get back on track after something derails your progress? Please share your tips in the comments!

2 thoughts on “When Life Gets in the Way of Writing

  1. Reminds of what John may or may not have said: “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.”
    I’m definitely going to start my masterpiece tomorrow …

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