Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Learning to Juggle
It’s me again, with my basket load of advice, hopefully you’ve given Mr Self Doubt some punches to the head, and now you are ready for the second strike. This time I’m going to be taking on another challenge that us Writers have to face. It’s one of the things Mr Self Doubt likes to throw at us, and it seems so convincing that we often believe him. What am I referring to? Well it’s the one thing I’m sure you have all said yourself. “I just don’t have time to write.”
Recently I’ve had to deal with this issue myself, which is what gave me the idea for this post. I’ve found myself unsuccessfully juggling many things, and sadly, my writing has been pushed back, not as far as my baking blog I have to admit. Even though I’m writing, I still have a large editing pile to work through, and my novel well I’ve hardly started planning it. It’s a frustrating process you need to work to live, you have chores to complete, responsibilities, family and friends to make time for, and the list is endless. And at the same time you need to spend a fair amount of time on your writing, and when you are working on three short stories at different stages and planning a novel it can be a real fight to fit it all in. As we all know, if you’re not working on your writing your dreams will never come true. Dramatic gasp!
So how do you deal with this issue, how do you learn to juggle? Well I’ve come up with another list; I know me and my lists. I actually have special shopping list paper that’s blue and has a cute pink rose at the bottom. Random I know, but hey, that’s me. Right back on topic. I’ve come up with 5 tips, yes the famous 5; to help you learn to juggle like an over experienced clown, red nose and all.
- Be realistic and allow yourself some free time: Before we even look at ways to easily add writing to your life, we need to be realistic about what we can actually do. While it may be suggested that to perfect your craft you need to write everyday, this can be tricky to achieve. Sadly, there’s going to be a time where you just can’t fit writing in, no matter what you do. So instead of beating yourself up because you are too busy running around like a headless chicken or your eyes need matchsticks to stay open, just allow yourself to have that day off. However, you must make sure you don’t do this too often because you will find yourself easily trapped in the ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ cycle.
Also, if there are days that you want to relax, go out, or spend time with family and friends then do so, we all need a life otherwise where are we going to get our ideas?
- You don’t need to write for hours: While we’d like to sit and spend hours lost in our own worlds, which can be more interesting than our own, there just isn’t enough hours in the day. So instead of trying to cram hours in do small chunks instead, for example an hour a day, 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes 3 times a day. No matter how long you spend, you’ll still be moving forward and heading towards your goal.
- Make the most of your time: Do you really need an hour lunch? Is it necessary for you to spend 3 hours getting ready? Yes, I’m referring to you guys too. Do you really need to spend hours watching Soap Operas? No you don’t, you could easily take back some of that time and use it for your writing. Have 30 minutes lunch and use the other 30 for writing. Switch off the TV and get some writing done. If you think about it, you’ll find that there are times of the day that you are wasting time. Don’t feel bad though, I do it too.
Also, while travelling to work, as long as you’re not driving of course, you can read and even edit your stories. If you don’t hate mornings (I do I hate them so much, well anything before 8am), then get up an hour earlier. I’ve never tried it, but it might be interesting writing in the morning when your mind is fresh rather than the evening when you feel like a zombie.
- Cut down the workload: If you’re anything like me, you’ll be working on multiple stories all at the same time. While this conveyor belt approach can work (plan one, draft one and edit one), if you stall on any of the stages you will find yourself with a serious backlog. Over the summer I wrote stories, but never edited them, so my editing pile just got bigger and bigger, and I’m crazy because I just keep adding to it. I have however decided to try a new approach, this may not be new to you, I’m going to work on one story at a time. So that’s plan, write, edit and then submit. Also, if you are like me and have a huge editing pile it might be wise to concentrate on just the editing, at least for a few weeks.
- Give yourself a deadline: This I have to admit is important because when you don’t have a deadline you’ll find yourself forever saying I can do this tomorrow. Then you’ll find yourself with either a pile of half-finished stories or a pile of unedited stories, and when you have this let’s just say if you can’t juggle, you’ll crash from the load.
There you have it 5 tips to help you to successfully juggle. I hope that one of these will be of some use to the stressed out writer. I must admit writing this post has given me loads of ideas, and now I think I might be soon getting back on track.
On a final note, remember a well-rested and balanced writer is a better writer.
So, what are you waiting for? Go write something. Let’s follow this unrealistic dream!