I gave you all the gist of my horrific experience with a day job that sucked the soul out of me. Since then, I've had a baby with Down Syndrome, and have gone through some pretty stressful stuff. But, I don't let it suck my soul out anymore. I'm learning to catch it when it starts happening and hold back the tide until I've turned it around. But that doesn't mean I don't struggle or have bad days. It means I don't give up.
The only hard and fast rule I have is this: NEVER GIVE UP.
Easy to say but what are some things to do? Not only for managing your time, but finding the emotional energy for writing? First of all, get it in your mind that you don't have to be the next Stephen King or Laurell K Hamilton to be a success. If you write books, you are a writer. I've written literally multiple posts on being a writer, mother, wife and one was dedicated specifically to the whole are you a writer question. In order for any of the other tricks writers have learned to work, you have to believe it yourself.
So what can you do to help you attain your goal of writing?
If there are others around to help with household chores, remember to delegate. No matter what anyone tells you, having your teenager do dishes isn't child abuse. Having your spouse help isn't an imposition. Take turns. Cooking and the like should all be rotated. It may take a chart for your family to work out who needs to do what when. Plan your meals. For some of my OCD friends that means down to the last grain of salt, but I mean, do your shopping ahead of time. Get everything prepped. Have a day that's dedicated to prepping meals for the weak. (You're going to find out that the things I'm going to share with you sound similar to what I suggest for nano. That's cuz it's all about finding more time to do more lol)
Make your goals clear to your family. If your writing for stress relief, to eventually get published, for self-publishing, whatever, tell them it's important to you. Hopefully, they'll understand and be supportive. That's the best case scenario. Worst case scenario they resent "your little hobby" and moan and complain about how "they have to do everything around here" and you have to fight for your right to be a writer. A real pain in the tush, but there ya' go. It is what it is.
So, you've prepped your family, told yourself to shut up and write, now what?? You're exhausted, the ideas that were flowing through your head at work seem to have gone the way of Beta videos. A strong coherent thought that fizzled instead of taking hold like it should have.
Carry notebooks, tape recorders, or PDA, whatever you're comfortable with and will actually use. Get those ideas down! Also, write or read on breaks. Do something for your writing. Which brings up the next part.
Writing is more than putting words down on paper. Or on the screen. It's a full scopic of things to do from marketing/networking to research on top of the stringing words together part. So, when looking at your writing time, be sure to include those things. READ. A lot. Then read some more in whichever genre you're wishing to write in and intersperse that with books or magazines on the craft. Look at blogs, become a part of the community.
The writer's community is a huge one, and by and large a supportive one. There's always a few bad apples, or peeps who get their feelings hurt too easily, or are easy to take offense. Learn from it and continue on. The rest of us are humans wanting to support our fellow humans. You'll need that support when the going gets tough. It's not an extra thing to do, it's a necessity. When one of the writers I followed got divorced, I cried. Seriously. I hurt so much for her. Then another got the deal of the century from her first series, I cried happy tears, she so deserved it. Why? because these writers have been blogging and sharing themselves with us and connected to us in the outside world. We've all been at the beginning. A dream. A wish. A thought.
Even if it's only 10 min here and there, if you write on those breaks and just before you go to bed, pretty soon, you'll see a collection of words that add up to something. You may think it's a pile of dung. If it's your first book, there's a better than half a chance that's true, but you have to take the step. Learn from it, practice your craft. Soon, you will be better and what comes out of your mouth won't be "I wish I had time to write" it will be "I have to do my writing for the night." or "I'm writing in my spare time." or "I'm following my dreams."
Find a way to write. I waited way too long. During the time at work, if I'd taken more time to paint and write, the stress of it all would not have affected me as badly. I would have been happier, even with all the same stresses at home/work. I know. Writing and the writing community just pulled me through every parent's nightmare. My family that pulled together for me were important, but they were going through it as well. You will be amazed at the support you find.
So, we've got you thinking you have the right to write, your family, whether moaning & groaning or cheering used to the idea, and your cheer leading team of writers all there waving pom-poms. But you still have THE DAY JOB.
The soul sucking day job that makes your head hurt, your heart cry, and your soul wither. Seriously, if your job is like that, keep looking for a new one. Even if you're not a writer, no one can live with that for very long. But in the meantime, how do you get yourself to write? Keep a blog, a journal, a diary, what have you. This may sound silly, but think about it. Call it your warm up exercises. Call it whatever you wish, but pour that poison out of your soul. If you paint, paint it out. Do something that will take the poison and leech it out of your being. Get, It. Out.
Soon, the writing will flow easier. Like I said, you might think it's drivel. It might only be a few hundred words, but it's something. As you practice, you'll get faster, get more words out in same amount of time. When you get stuck, DO NOT SAY WRITER'S BLOCK, simply do research, edits or read and let your mind work on what's wrong. There are many things to look at, plot problems, characterizations, yada yada, but that's for another blog post. For now, do something related.
I promise you, that if you start with these few simple things, you'll feel better about yourself, your prospects, and you will start to want for more. That first taste will help you to find more times to write. To give up that favourite TV show for an extra half hour to write. It will happen if you want it to.
Follow me on twitter @L_Bushman I have a crazy sense of humor, am sometimes down about money, family life, and stress, and talk to people all the time lol Very rarely are people bored around me on twitter. They may be infuriated, shocked, appalled, laughing, snickering, loving, but rarely bored. Plus, I have a CP who is as irreverent as I am and I think people follow us just to see what's going to happen next. ;P
I have an abundant number of writers/agents/editors that I follow/RT to help you start your twitter journey if you haven't already. Now, let's take advantage of being in a free country and follow our dream!!
Happy Fourth of July!!!