I have a thousand things to do today and writing is just not one of them. This statement represents well the challenge of people working full time, managing the hustle and bustle of life while also trying to squeeze in writing. Often times when I share with friends and colleagues that I enjoy writing, the number one question consistently asked is, “When do you have time to write?”
I must admit it is a valid question to ponder. While working a full time job clocking at least 50 hours a week and attending classes five hours a week on a personal quest to earn a Phd, it is a reasonable question to ask. I find the answer to be one simple truth. You frankly make time to do what you want to do. There is no magic potion for finding time to write. There is no miracle formula that works universally; it’s simply a commitment that one has to make and stay the course across all obstacles until the desired writing objectives are complete.
When people shift to a healthier lifestyle, their eating and exercise habits must change in order to sustain success. Writing is no different. To sustain a healthy pattern of writing, you must watch your writing habits.
My writing has not been a perfect journey, and I haven’t yet hit all of my writing goals. What I do have is a few habits that I keep coming back to that will refocus me as needed. No matter how long I step away from writing, these three triggers work to get me back on track. Identifying your writing triggers is a revelation we all need. Here are my top three:
Writing is therapy for me. My best writing is triggered by moments of pain. I came to know this through the experience of losing my job as well as the loss of a dear friend. These moments of pain and loss created my best writing pieces. This has helped me to take advantage of opportunities to bring my voice forward in the turmoil of dark times. Writing heals me. Over time, I have learned to embrace the pain and stop myself to write during those times. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
With a little help by friends I get by. The best thing that happened to my writing practices was joining a writing group and developing a group of friends that support my writing ups and downs. I joined a writing group because it was something different and sounded like a cool idea at the time. My co-worker invited me to the group. He was the King Blogger of a large corporation and I was always fascinated by his writing style. This group is the glue that keeps my writing going. We meet every two weeks and read each other’s’ projects and celebrate successes and rejections. Peer pressure still works and you just do not want to show up three straight times without something to show and tell. That pressure will have you rising up early mornings or late nights to get something written down. We all subscribe to the belief that it doesn’t have to be perfect but it does have to be written down. Simply attending our sessions give me enough mojo to dust myself off and get back up again.
Be kind to myself when I’m off track. I am my worst critic and when I do not hit a writing goal, I go inward and it creates a downward spiral that lands me in a place of being stuck. Over the years, I have adopted a lighter attitude about not hitting every single deadline on time. Writing is something I get to do. It’s not something I have to do. And each time, I get to write, I treat it as an honor and a privilege to bring my voice forward. By being kind to myself during my writing lulls, I find that I shift out of the lulls much faster.
Writing is a gift and as the William Faulkner quote says, “if a story is in you, it has got to come out.” So, I hope this blog inspires you to uncover your writing triggers if you haven’t already and bring your stories out. I would love to hear your ideas on how you manage to “fit in writing.” Please post your tips below because we all could use them. Happy Writing!