This year has been a challenging one for my family. We moved to a new state, then to another town, and our life has been in flux. It has not been easy to write under the kind of stress not having a permanent home brings. Life is hard and often throws unexpected situations our way. Writing isn't easy either, and although some writers can work through difficult times I am not one of those who can manage. I do well under a disciplined schedule but it's not always feasible to stick to a plan when everything is up in the air. So, I figured it might be helpful to share some tips that have allowed me to stay connected to the craft and producing work.
**Disclaimer** I have not published any work since December of 2017 due to life circumstances. I have, however, continued to write.
Or regularly. Every writer has a different schedule to work with, but what helped me above anything else was simply sitting down to write on a daily basis. I like to get up early and write first thing in the morning then again during the afternoon. This is just the schedule I aim to keep but it isn't perfect. We had to spend a lot of days out of town looking for work and a home where we wanted to live while also living somewhere else, so keeping a regular schedule has been rather challenging. I just do my best to stick to what works for me on a daily basis. Writing regularly not only helps writers get practice in but it also keeps them connected to their story world, which makes it so much easier to complete a book. Even just a few hundred words a day (I did as little as 100 words per day) helped me to keep adding to my manuscript. On the days when the story and words simply did not come because I was feeling tired or stressed, I at least took a look at the manuscript and edited. Writing fresh words was not always the priority, since my mind wasn't always ready and willing to write. But just sitting down, opening the file, and telling myself that I wasn't going to get up until I at least tried to work for a bit helped me continue producing words.
To a community, that is. Writing is a solitary endeavor. We are locked up in a room or office while the rest of the world goes on around us. Some writers like to spend time at Starbucks or the library—not me. I enjoy being totally alone when I write. However, it's important to have fellowship and support during the stressful parts of our life journey. Being a part of several author communities really went a long way in helping me remember how much I love to create and continue feeling inspired. I was able to get suggestions from other writers on continuing to write during the tough times. I formed some friendships and was able to reach out to other struggling writers because I understood what they were going through. Being an Indie means we rely a lot on having a tribe, which is a wonderful thing.
Books, books, books! I'm lucky that my family is a reading family, so I feel convicted when I don't read enough. :) But continuing to read romance novels and marketing books helped me remember why I do this in the first place. The written word excites me and I love telling stories. Reading good books continued feeding my creative well and appreciation for books. We are more inspired to keep creating if we are immersed in what we love. I made sure to update my Goodreads account and leave reviews to help get involved in conversations. Goodreads is quite fun and the list building keeps me encouraged to consume more stories.
These are three simple ways that I was able to keep writing even though I haven't wanted to most of the time. Word counts went out the door temporarily while I focused on just staying connected to my work and my author friends. Hopefully these tips will keep you writing during the stressful seasons of your life.