Do you write no matter what life throws your way? Most writers allow “life” to get in the way of writing. And I know it can…if you let it.
I’ve been there, done that. I bet you have, too.
I added “Certified High Performance Coach” to my Author Coach and Trainer credentials to discover strategies and tools to help my clients and me fit writing into our busy lives.
Write Anywhere and Anytime
I already had mastered the ability to write anywhere and anytime. I’ve worked on books and blog posts in coffee shops while waiting for my daughter to finish art class or swim team practice. I’ve written in dance studio lounges while my son took a class or rehearsed and in doctor’s offices while waiting for one of my kids to get called in for an appointment. I’ve written on airplanes, in hotel rooms, and while caring for my elderly mother after she broke her hip.
Maybe you’ve done the same.
Or maybe you didn’t write because you weren’t at home, didn’t have your computer, or were busy with other things. Possibly you were:
- Too tired
- Too overwhelmed
- Too stressed
- Too distracted
- Too low energy
- Too frustrated
To accomplish your writing no matter what, you have to know how to generate the energy and the focus to write anywhere and anytime. And even if you can or decide to write at home, you want the ability to do so first thing in the morning, after work, late at night—whenever you can fit in a writing session.
And you have to write despite the laundry that needs washing or folding, the bills to pay, the meals to cook, the kids to care for, your responsibilities, the carpool schedule, your full-time job, the housework…and on and on.
What Gets in the Way?
What gets in the way of writing? Make a list. What types of things happen in your life and get you off course and purpose?
At one point, I had four kids at home to care for and cater to. I’ve had to drive 1.5 hours in both directions (every day) to get a child to dance class. I’ve had to drop everything I’m doing to bring forgotten lunches and homework to school…and drive 30 minutes in each direction to do so. I’ve had sick kids trash my writing plans.
I get it. Life does, indeed, happen.
These days I have a lot more time compared to then. I’ve got one grown child at home, but she doesn’t need anything from me…except for occasional dog care (which also can wreak havoc on my plans).
But my schedule is filled… I’ve got coaching clients, blog posts, articles, book proposals, editing, classes.
And, as I said, there was the time when I had to go to New York multiple times in three months to care for my mom. And the time I fell off my bike and ended up with road rash all over my face and stitches in my upper lip.
And once in a while, I get sick. Or my husband gets sick and is home—and requiring help.
Some days—normal days, it seems like it’s impossible to fit in work on my books.
But it’s not impossible. You and I can write no matter what life throws at us.
To do so requires that you level up and master your physiology, psychology, and productivity. You also need to master your plan.
Master Your Physiology
I know… You’re tired. You feel lethargic. You lack enthusiasm because you are overwhelmed and stressed.
At the end of the day, you don’t have the energy to write, especially if you have a full-time job and kids or responsibilities caring for elderly parents. I get it… I do.
Maybe you’re also are too tired to get up early in the morning to write.
Or when you sit down to write, you bring low energy to the computer. (Do you sit there slumped over and leaning back in the chair?)
You can’t be productive with low energy. You have to generate high and positive energy to write—especially if you are tired.
Here are some tips that will help you generate energy to write even when it seems like you can’t:
- Move. Work out, walk, do yoga…anything that gets your blood circulating and your body moving.
- Breath. Your body and mind need oxygen to work effectively. Take deep breaths!
- Drink. Not alcohol or caffeine. Drink a lot of water.
- Sleep. Your body and mind need seven to eight hours of sleep to operate at optimum levels.
- Focus. Remove distractions. Limit the number of decisions you make per day. Stay present.
Also, notice the energy you bring to your writing. Is it high, low, positive, or negative? Learn to manage your energy, and show up to the computer with high and positive energy.
The ability to manage your energy also helps you handle the ups and down of life.
Master Your Psychology
Life happens, but then do you happen? Do you react, rather than respond? Do you get upset, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, negative rather than asking yourself how best to respond to the situation?
To master your psychology:
- Stop blaming. No more saying I can’t write because I spend all my time at work…or caregiving my elderly parents…or watching the kids…
- Stop making excuses. Yes, excuses, like I’m too tired. I’m too busy. I don’t know how…
- Stop listening to your negative thoughts and limiting beliefs. Thoughts like, It’s too hard. No one will read what I write. It’s not worth it. I can’t do it, simply aren’t true. So stop lying to yourself.
- Create or choose positive thoughts. See how you feel (and notice the results you get) when you consistently think thoughts like I can find a way. I embrace the struggle. I can do this.
- Focus on what you want. Don’t focus on what you don’t want.
- Be on purpose. If you know your purpose or mission, take daily steps to fulfill it.
- Know your priorities as a writer. Is it to finish the book already, write daily, or traditionally publish? Know them, and put them first—not last.
- Determine what constitutes a necessity in your life. Hint: It’s not TV or Facebook or even reading a novel for pleasure. Take care of real needs, and put the other activities on a back burner.
- Develop discipline. You need will power and a firm commitment (from yourself) to do what you say—to write no matter what.
Make sure you control your mind. When you are in control of you, you govern when and if you write–not some outside circumstance, physical issue, or limiting belief.
Master Your Productivity
Productivity hinges on your psychology and energy. It also hinges on your ability to stick to your commitments—to have the discipline to do what you say and to keep promises (to yourself and others).
You must show up at the computer with a positive mindset, clarity about your work in progress, the ability to focus, and enough energy to write efficiently.
These tips will help you master your productivity:
- Schedule writing time. You probably block out time for taking the kids to school, exercise, and even going to church. What about time to write? Is it on your calendar daily? It should be.
- Create in the morning. Don’t check your email or social media accounts first thing when you wake up. Instead, sit down to write. That way you won’t get sucked into other people’s agendas or time-wasting activities. You’ll accomplish something important to you right away. That will set the tone for the day.
- Shut out distractions. Send the kids out for a play date (or hire a sitter). Use noise-cancelling headphones when you work. Turn off the internet or any sites that make noise—including email. Shut the door to your office. Go somewhere quiet.
- Have a writing plan. Don’t sit down and ask, What will I write today? Plan your writing periods. For example, on your calendar it might say, Write the lead and first paragraph of the article, Complete the first draft of the following three sections of chapter 2 or Write and publish a blog post on how to prevent hacking.
And when life actually gets crazy, work in short time blocks. Don’t even attempt to write for two hours per day, for instance. Instead, work for 15 minutes per day. That’s doable. And that short time block often turns into 30 minutes or an hour. But it keeps your work fresh in your mind and gives you a sense of forward movement with your project.
Master Your Plan
If you were an athlete, like a marathon runner, you’d have a plan for how to run the race. Part of that plan would include how to overcome the tough spots—like when you feel tired, physically drained, and unable to finish. You’ll have planned what to do when your mind starts saying, I can’t do this. It’s too hard or when your body rebels and gets a cramp.
It’s no different with your writing. You need a plan to get you from “start” to “finish.” To continue with the marathon runner analogy, what will you do if you twist an ankle, the person running next to you needs help, or you see your child on the sidelines (not cheering you on but crying)?
How will you deal with the challenges life throws at you so you can continue writing until you complete the manuscript and get it published? How will you ensure that you continue to write…no matter what?
Sometimes Life Comes First
It’s true… Sometimes you can’t do your best work because of life—or work at all. Some circumstances require your full attention and energy. Certain situations require that you make life—not writing—a priority.
But it’s a rare situation that doesn’t allow you to take 15 minutes per day to write.
And that’s how you keep writing no matter what life throws you. When life happens, you happen and take control of your life and your writing.
Get out of your way so you can make your writing dream a reality.
Learn more about how to write no matter what. Discover how to fulfill your purpose and achieve your potential as a writer (and person) by learning the skills, strategies, and mindsets of the most successful writers in the world. Become a high-performance writer. Learn more and register for the next session when you click here.
Photo copyright: kaboompics / Pixabay.com
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