Sometimes life outside of being a writer becomes hectic, and juggling the many demands of life takes its toll. In times like these something has to give, and I’ve already cooked too many oven chips for dinner and stopped walking my dog every day.
While no writer wants to sacrifice their writing time, that precious outlet for their sanity, there comes a time (usually around doing our annual taxes or Christmas) when they simply must take a short break.
Here’s my four top tips to help you survive writing purgatory.
Stop berating yourself, this is only temporary: By removing the addition stress of unrealistic goals, you’ll actually increase productivity, be better at problem solving and be back on track before you know it.
Prioritize your responsibilities: Make a list of all that needs to be done and cut out the unessential. Oh how I wish the world were fair, and that my children would understand that writing was my lifeline, unfortunately they insist being fed and having clean clothes.
Don’t stop planning and plotting: Just because you can’t physically find time to write doesn’t mean you won’t get the opportunity to daydream. Driving somewhere? Use that time to develop a secondary character. Painting a room. Figure out you climactic scene. Stuck waiting in the doctor surgery. Gather inspiration by watching how the receptionist deals with patients, or how the toddle runs his mother ragged, and use those details in your manuscript.
Repeat this mantra: I’m only human. No one’s perfect. I’m a writer, even if I don’t write every day. It’s going to okay.
What do you do when life gets in the way of your writing? I’d love to hear your coping techniques, so please share them with me.
Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.
With the encroaching Christmas holidays, deadlines become a predominant factor in most of our minds. They add additional pressure to an already fraught time of year. Manifesting stress where it’s not needed, this is something I’m guilty of. I pile on extra jobs and beat myself up for not accomplishing each and every single one of them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
On top of the extra demands of December: Shop, wrap, cook, clean, preen. We authors often juggle work, family, and the demands of writing, promoting, blogging and social media.
Realising how insane all of that sounds, I thought this week’s blog could help lighten the load by shinning a little comedy and sprinkle a few well-meaning quotes into the mix. Sit back and enjoy!
“At times, it is better to “just do it” than to “do it right”. One reason new year resolutions don’t work is that we expect too much from ourselves. Rush, meet your deadlines, you can always continue from where you stopped next year.” ― Asuni LadyZeal
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor
“I love Christmas. I receive a lot of wonderful presents I can’t wait to exchange.” – Henny Youngman
“A deadline is a negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.”
― Rita Mae Brown
“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ― Diana Scharf
“If the novels are still being read in 50 years, no one is ever going to say: ‘What’s great about that sixth book is that he met his deadline!’ It will be about how the whole thing stands up.”
― George R.R. Martin
So my fellow writers, take a leaf from some of the greats and relax over the deadlines. By all means, keep writing and work towards your goals, but at the end of the day: Pop your pajamas on, watch a Christmas movie, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the festive season.
As always folks, thanks for reading. What sort of deadlines do you place on yourself at Christmas and how do you relax and unwind at the end of the day? Tell me all about it, you know I love to hear from you.
I’m a huge fan of positivity posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Pushing us to work towards our goals and chase our dreams. But sometimes it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To realise that our struggles don’t define us, but they do make us human.
Being a writer or any artist is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is???
Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.
First of all: Shoat out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us, juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family and all the pressures life brings is usually enough for mere mortals. We’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to building platforms, managing social media and actually writing a novel… or two. Congratulations, did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.
Next it’s a huge shoat out to writer parents. Whoop! Whether your children are young and need constant attention. Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Where we need eyes in the back of our heads. Or older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media mine-fields, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And that’s all dealt with in a morning.
When do we get to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.
Social life advocates: Bravo! I’m beginning to wonder if this is a rare breed of writer, because if you’re juggling either of the above, or like me – both, and you still have a successful social life: I’m wondering, do you only need two hours of sleep???
I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in my yoga class, maybe take up tai chi too and attend creative writing class. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook bloody food, clean dishes… You know the drill. You’re in it too. It’s an endless cycle of mundaneness, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating, doesn’t even begin to cover it.
To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free. ‘Life is suffering’ – Budda
And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome. Take a moment to reflect on you’re journey and feel free to add a comment, sharing a little of it with me.
I adore the magic of Christmas. The twinkling lights, the scent of pine needles and mulled wine. The opportunity to embrace all that I’m grateful for. Let me shine a light on some of the things that bring this wonderful season to life.
I love the idea of snow. To wrap up in thermal socks, gloves and a woollen scarf. Then head out with my children for a snow fight or to build a snowman. IF it snows, it rarely settles in my coastal town due to the salty air. Plus the reality is very different from the rosy nostalgia of my childhood. The wind bites my cheeks and my toes turn painfully cold. With soggy mittens I head back indoors, proving that my first favourite tradition is and always will be my home.
My second favourite tradition is family and friends. This year’s a stepping stone into a new era. It’s the twentieth Christmas without my mum. Since she passed away I’ve tried to provide an inviting, homely Christmas for my brother and sister. Along with the addition of my husband, two children and a lazy beagle. Recently I’ve severed relations with my toxic father, though he’s never had a roll in my festive cellebrations, the choice still lay heavy on my heart. Until I realised that I have always been the support system in my family. Nothing has changed. Except for the growth of self-respect and a new found empowerment that I had not expected to feel. I’m grateful for my family, the ones who love and respect each other. Whether blood related or not, they are the ones I bind my faith, and love in.
Finally my Christmas tree decorations. Not the process of dressing the bloody thing. That is a stressful event, fraught with nit picking and despair – that’s me – my kids insist on dressing the tree. Which is fine, I just rearrange the babbles when no one’s watching. My favourite tradition is the decorations themselves. It started after the birth of my daughter; I purchased a white rocking horse with babies first Christmas written across the flank. The collection has grown to include a Disney Stich wearing a Santa suit, a second rocking horse after the birth of my son, inherited glass Christmas trees from my nan, a selection of stars, reindeer and candy canes chosen by my children as they grew. I admit that I hide the garish green and red star at the back of the tree. Yet each one has a happy family memory, proving that negative family patterns can be changed. My safe, healthy family is proof of a better life.
I wish you all a very merry Christmas, full of magical memories, filled with laughter and love. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share your favourite traditions with me.
It’s not an easy task, even when that person causes unimaginable pain, deep wounds that lay at our core. Breaking ties, severing bonds and inflicting heartache.
What if that goodbye is your chance to finally breathe? To resurface from a lifetime of cruelty and repression. That even though it’s what’s right for you, it will crush the others who surround the two of you.
Families break, friendships suffer, children cry. Guilt can become a burden that is too hard to shake. Memories of love and loss collide within my mind. They crash like waves on cliffs, shattering rocks. Rocks that were once my building blocks. Blocks that caged me, trapping me inside fear and rejection.
I’ve taken those foundations – chipped, chiselled and clawed through. Bare-handed, bloody and raw. I’m not a child anymore. I see wrong from right, I fight against it day and night.
I walk away, head high, from you. The man, who should have protected and sheltered me from harm. I wear your healed bruises as badges of strength. I’ll face this life alone, because sometimes it’s safer, and that’s such a crime.
Though it’s sad, it’s the right time to say – goodbye dad.
This week’s post is inspired by the novel Heartless by Marissa Meyer. This melancholic, whimsical story opened up wounds that I’d hope were securely closed. It posed the important question, how do you recover from heartbreak, no seriously… How?
I have loved and lost many times;
The countless friends lost by the upheaval of an army up-bringing.
The death of my mother when I was a teenager.
A selfishness father, who tore in and out like a tornado at his own accord.
Boys who pretended to be friends. They fed me lies and fled with my kisses.
My first proper boyfriend, who deceived and cheated.
To my friends who drifted away with the tides of time; long lost but never forgotten.
Perhaps this is why I write fantasy as an escape from reality. And perhaps this is why I write romance, for I’m ever the optimist.
I’m no different than any of you; it’s simply life and its consequences. Some would say fate. Everyone has loved and lost. We have all suffered the immense pain of a broken heart. The torment of endless questions, self-defeat and gaping wound that no one else can see.
I learnt many valuable lessons from my trials, and today I’ll share some of my wisdom. In the hopes that it will help those suffering, to shine a light on a subject that is brutal, raw but necessary.
You are not alone!
Be brave. My personal mantra and one born from regret. When I lost my best friend to crossed wires and miss communication, I believed that playing it cool would serve me best. My friends all advised me to speak with him, to be honest and hash out the problem. But I was scared, scared of rejection, scared of being laughed at, scared of my feelings. In hind sight, that was a huge mistake. Now when we pass each other in the street and politely smile the song ‘Someone that I used to know,’ skips through my head.
I should have been brave.
Listen to your friends. They’ll know when you should try harder, if they’re playing games or if red flags are flying and you should quit the chase. We won’t always listen or appreciate their advice at the time. But they only have our best interest at heart and at the end of the day, they will be the ones waiting when you’ve pieced yourself back together.
Because heartbreak is messy.
Have faith and believe in yourself. No one wants to hear, ‘There are plenty more fish in the sea.’ Especially not when all we hanker for is that one special person that we can’t envisage life without. Regardless, time rolls on. And with it, we discover who we are and what’s wonderful about ourselves. At the very least, we learn to fall in love with ourselves. I was single for two years before I met my husband. I discovered who and what I was capable of. Don’t be hasty in your search for someone else to fill the void. Instead of searching for Mr Right, put the energy into finding who you are.
(My geeky Greek mythology coming out to play.) When Pandora opened the box and let out destruction, strife and sickness, we must not forget that hope still remained.
Give yourself time. None of us want to feel the twisting dagger of heartbreak and despair. Unfortunately it’s as much part of life as breathing. Take all the time you need, cry, and shoat, or bury your head under a pillow and wallow. Curse the romantic couples who flaunt their happiness.
See it as your chrysalis, for when you do emerge, you’ll be stronger and more beautiful than before.
Laugh. Maybe not immediately, but don’t ever underestimate the power of joy and fun. It’s soul rejuvenating.
Take stock of those that still surround you, for they are the ones who truly care.
Thanks for reading. Looking back what piece of advice do you wish you’d known? I’d love to hear from you so drop your comments below. Remember you’re not alone.
The festive season is upon us. Town lights shine, trees are adorned with trinkets and the shopping list keeps growing. I love this time of year even though it’s full of nostalgia. Reminding me that life hasn’t always been so kind.
Not everyone is fortunate to have a loving family to share in the good times. This time of year can be the loneliest of all, to those who have no one. Even though I have children and a husband to share this year with, I’m still aware that at any point that could change. For me Christmas is about showing the people you care about, how much they mean to you. Having the time to create memories that are built to last. Sharing, loving and enjoying.
I grew up in a dysfunctional and ‘off and on’ broken family. Christmas time was either ‘we will have a wonderful family time’ or mum over compensating for a single parent type of Christmas. To my two younger sisters, brother and I, all the holidays were magical. They still hold a special place in our hearts regardless of our circumstances.
When I was eighteen, mum died from a brain hemorrhage. It was 3 months before Christmas. I was numb, battered by grief and the constant changing environment. Dad moved back into the family home and the holidays crept up on us.
That Christmas Dad gave me £100 to buy my eleven year old sister gifts.
‘Like mum would have done because I didn’t know where to start,’ dad said.
The irony was, neither did I. Christmas went from thoughtful gifts, warms smiles and the pretense of Santa. To a bottle of wine and pack of cigarettes under the tree. I appreciated the gifts, at that point alcohol was a welcome distraction.
The next five Christmas passed in a state of equal disrepair to the half family that remained. Just my brother, youngest sister and me. Dad hated Christmas, choosing to spend it in the pub or at his new home.
Leaving the three of us to create new family traditions. I would pick small gifts, with the little money I had. Bought with the intention of showing I cared. I’d start buying food in November so I could budget for treats and a turkey. We would decorate tree with mums ornaments and be thankful we still had each other.
This year I’ll be thanking my lucky stars for my friends and family. They give my life great meaning and support.
What do you have to be grateful for this year? Maybe you know someone that might be lonely this Christmas?