Crisis can strike at any time but it doesn’t have to kill your creative drive. Try one or all of these tips to help you keep your pen moving.
1) Stop telling yourself that you can’t. Negative self-talk can be more damaging than any critique partner, negative review, or venomous family member ever could be. You know how to hurt you better than anyone else out there.
2) Eliminate the belief that you can only write in front of a computer, with your cat at your feet, a latte on your left, and Roget’s on your right. The beauty of writing is that you can write just about anywhere. The low-tech methods we all learned to write with (notebook and pen) are portable devices that don’t require batteries or electricity. Notebooks of different sizes will fit in your purse, book bag, office drawer, or glove compartment so there’s always one handy when you have a spare minute.
3) Find time you can reclaim as writing time, whether it’s in the bank drive through (I purposely get in the longest line these days), in a chair in the doctor’s office, or letting your spouse drive somewhere so you can sit in the passengers seat and write. A few minutes here and there that would normally be wasted time reclaimed as writing time. Minutes add up!
4) Arrive at work fifteen minutes to a half an hour early. Make it clear to your co-workers that you don’t start “work” until eight o’clock. No phone calls, no quick questions, no “work,” only writing until the bell tolls eight.
5) During lunches, find a private place where no one can find you and work on your manuscript. Your work can live without you for a half an hour.
6) If working on a full-length manuscript is too overwhelming, set the book aside. Instead, work on something short, an article, a short story, a poem, a character sketch, or even a letter to a friend. Keep your pen moving.
7) Try fictionalizing what you’re going through. It’s cathartic and creative at the same time. Exaggerate what’s happening in your life, make it outrageous and funny, see where it takes you. Who knows, your trouble could make a great book.
8) We can all manage one sentence a day. Set a goal that you won’t go to sleep before you write at least one sentence. It’s forward progress after all!
During times of crisis, treat yourself well. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself happy, but don’t quit writing. Writing is too important to a writer’s sense of well being to let life stand in the way of your creativity.
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