I’ve been writing for a couple years now, and so I’ve run into very busy times in my life where my writing has been pushed to the side slightly. I’m having one of those times right now, but I find that I’m dealing with it a bit more calmly than I did in the past. I tend to panic a bit if I don’t get my writing done for the day, but I’m holding it together quite well right now—this post is about why and how it’s sometimes okay to not always meet your writing goals (in the short term).
For me, it’s been a crazy week. I’m in the process of moving, and life has just been running all over the city to set up stuff for the move. I haven’t had nearly the amount of focus that I normally need to get all my writing done. I say focus here, instead of time, because that’s really what it is. I do have more than enough actual waking hours in my days to finish up my word counts. Honestly, I have enough time to get my blog posts done and all of my PR stuff too—the problem is that I get worn down.
Normal life can be a pain, and this is something that I’ve seen people complain about all over the internet. They feel like they don’t have enough time to get what they want done, and so they just give up or don’t try in the first place; this is a mistake, and a big one at that. There will always be enough time to write a little bit, but if you’ve been up for 16 hours and all you want to do is go to bed or collapse onto the couch, the quality of the work you’ll be producing probably won’t be the best that day. It’s okay to take a day or two off when this happens; your story won’t delete itself if you feel like you’d rather die than write.
On the other hand, if you feel like you could write a bit, but not as much as you want, then write that bit and stop there. This is what I’ve been doing for the past week. Most of my free time has been going into finding new places, setting up viewings, signing leases, prepping for a move, blahblahblah ten-thousand things that go into moving. It’s a pain, and by the end of the day I know I’m not going to produce the same quality content as I would if I had the whole day to myself. I’ve tried it before, and my writing just ends up getting weird. The characters all sound the same, the plot gets all floppy and gross, and I just want to go and curl up on the couch. It’s important to keep writing, but pushing yourself beyond your limits is just a waste of time (and a very not fun waste of time at that).
If you find that life has become so hectic that it’s interfering with your writing, then set it aside. Write when you can, but focus on dealing with what has become hectic first; don’t kill yourself by forcing the writing and the crazy life. If you do that, you’re just going to end up tired, cranky, and feeling like you don’t even want to start writing again because it just makes you feel tired and cranky (and who would want that?).