I write a lot. And sometimes I get a little nutty.
Actually, I do not write as much as I should. I try to write everyday, even if only a few sentences or lines here and there. Writing about writing gets me thinking about one of the most important things for us to do: give ourselves time.
I understand the difficulty in finding time to write and be creative. Family and work life consumes a great deal of time as well as anxiety and depression; it is hard. But through all these excuses and issues I have learned that in order to be happy, I need to make time to do what defines me as a person: write.
A good friend of mine gets up early every morning and he either has to workout, write, or both. I recall hanging out with him and his wife, leaning against the table crying because I could not complete a single task; deadlines loomed and I was failing. But he said something really important that has stuck with me: “We get to do this. Don’t talk about writing like it’s a chore.” He was absolutely correct.
Getting up early in the morning is not an option for me because we already leave quite early to drive to school. I stay up late, but try to force myself to also rest by heading to bed with a book by 11 PM. I am not perfect. I still make poor choices that willingly distract me from writing, but I am far more productive than I was during those difficult times in my friends’ kitchen. Here are a few suggestions to keep yourself going. What I do may not work for everyone, but it helps me motivate pen-to-paper:
- make a space for yourself; whether you live in a house, apartment, etc, create a corner with table space that feels comfortable and can become your own. I do a lot of my work at the dining room table, which isn’t always ideal, but I like being near a window where I can observe a little piece of the world, embrace the steady flow of air, and drink a lot of coffee. I also like to be surrounded with books and our table allows me to do that. In order to maintain a quick clean-up when we’re sitting down to dinner I have a corner chair that I use to stack and hold things until I return to them.
- figure out your time of day; regardless of how tired I may be, writing at night works best for me. I am most productive after my kiddo heads to bed. Sometimes I will edit or write a tiny bit during my lunch break, but that doesn’t always work out.
- read with leisure; take time to enjoy some good material whether it is a collection of poetry, a novel, or a trade magazine. I find that reading often inspires me to keep working on my own projects. I have silly crushes on certain books (it’s quite embarrassing, actually) but falling in deep with another writer’s material can encourage you to try different techniques or see things in new ways. Don’t tell yourself, I wish I could write like that. Just accept the challenge and try.
Don’t give up on scribbling… if you want to write, make it happen.