I’ll be honest, as I type up this blog, I really don’t want to. My husband’s home, I’m not super inspired, and it’s a perfect day for cocoa and cuddling. Not sitting, thinking, writing, and working.
But that’s what I’m doing.
Don’t pity me though because tomorrow me will thank me. I don’t want to write but I’m still doing it…why?
Because that’s what writers do. We write.
Yeah, I know. It sounds pretty cliche and corny but there’s some truth to it especially as both the holidays and uninspired induced writer’s block roll around the bend. With the holidays, we have time management issues, right? Can’t find time to write. Commitments up the wazoo. Demotivating weather, I get it. And then there’s our old friend writer’s block. Always coming in at inopportune moments, writer’s block likes to surface around the holidays. At least for me this is the case because of all the things going on.
So that leaves us with one point. Write when you don’t want to.
Let’s look at time management issues and distractions first. For instance, like I said my husband is home and that means that I don’t want to sit on here and type away. I also have other commitments later in the day and week that I’m thinking about. I’m distracted, but I know that this scheduled writing time is sacred. I’m not allowed to break it.
So that’s rule no. 1: Make writing time sacred.
It doesn’t have to be the same time every day, especially with all the fuss of the holidays, but pen in your writing time into your planner, your phone, or on your calendar. Do not sacrifice it for anything. If you set up the precedent of respect, others will follow. Trust me on this one.
That leads me to my next point, not everyone will understand. I’m blessed with people who do understand that I’m a crazy writer and that I’ve got to write. But people will often follow your example. If you set up a standard like “Do not interrupt me when I’m writing” and you follow through by ignoring people, shutting a door to your work area, or simply say “I’m busy right now” the people in your life will get the message.
Rule no. 2 is pretty simple: Respect your writing time.
This to me means no technology allowed. Easier said than done, I know. But I often write on my typewriter or using pen and paper so it’s a tad bit easier for me to go ahead and follow this advice. But it is important to push technology away. If you like writing to music, turn on the music but keep the device farther away from you so it’s not within arms reach.
Your writing time is your own and odds are you’ve worked hard to get your behind in the chair. Why waste that scheduled sliver of time?
All right, so we’ve established that there aren’t really excuses, not even holiday ones for not being able to establish a healthy writing schedule. So now, what about writer’s block?
Excuse my language with this, but the number one way to deal with writer’s block is to get over yourself and understand that what you write today will be shit. That’s it. End of story. Folks enjoy getting in the habit of only writing the good stuff. Only revising the good stuff. We feel like we have to write exceptionally well and that’s just not the case.
We can’t always write well. Maybe not even half the time. Part of the issue is that we think too highly of ourselves. We are writers. Our story is groundbreaking! Only we can write this story. Maybe that’s true, but maybe it isn’t. Maybe our story is bad. Maybe we are bad writers. But one of the only ways to become great writers is to write on those bad days when there’s no inspiration, push through and come back to edit and revise it. Those revisions will teach you more about your writing than all the perfect days in the world.
Writer’s block is no excuse. It’s just something that you have to push through.
However, there are some ways you can set yourself up for success, especially during the holiday season. Make sure that you go out and get fresh air, preferably right before or in the middle of your writing sessions. I often schedule my writing time with a ten to twenty minute walk in the middle, unless it’s shorter in which case I go outside beforehand. Getting fresh air stimulates your senses and wakes up your mind.
You might just find that you’re writing is better after going outside or exercising.
What am I actually saying in this article?
That you can’t blame the holidays for your writing slump. You can’t go outside and shake your fist at the sky because you aren’t having a productive week or month. And you certainly can’t let life get in the way or your passion, your work.
I know and I understand how hard it is to write consistently regardless of everything going on but that consistency is key to your improvement and the ultimate publication of whatever you are trying to publish. But keep in mind that nothing is easy. After years of having a schedule, I’m sure even the greats struggle sometimes because at the end of the day even though we love and adore writing it is still work.
We still have to put out mental effort. We still have to work to create something. And that’s the beauty of it! Enjoy the work even when doing that work feels like such a chore, the worst thing on Earth. It means you are making something. It means you are in the process of creating. And that’s awesome.
So keep in mind this holiday season that there is no excuse for you not to write. Write when you don’t want to because that’s the time when it’s most important.