How to Keep Writing When Life Goes from Busy to HARD
We’re all busy: family, kids, careers, volunteering, housework, food, sleep … And it’s easy to find excuses for why we’re too busy to write.
And I don’t let you get away with any of them.
Because bowing to the busy means not honoring your message and your God-given gifts.Bowing to being BUSY means not honoring your message and your God-given gifts. Here's how to keep writing. Click To Tweet
Making writing a non-negotiable isn’t so simple, however, when life goes from busy to hard. When everything is coming at you faster than you know what to do with.
Like my life over the past few weeks.
BTW: The irony of it being January and the promise of a “fresh start” isn’t lost on me! I also know that a few weeks of hell aren’t enough for me to throw in the towel and write off a whole month as worthless—no WAY I’ll do that for an entire year after a rocky start!
It started with Small Thing …
I hired him an awesome babysitter and then worried that it wasn’t going well when they really just Did.Not.Mesh. It wasn’t until a few days later that I realized … that kid had been sick with a virus the entire time!
Speaking of the awesome babysitter … her life imploded and the fallout on that impacted my life too! I don’t want to go into too much detail, but suddenly needing to help a 22-year-old figure out how to live on her own wasn’t something I’d planned for and I’m endlessly grateful it’s turning into something really positive.
Last week, my dad had heart surgery. While the doctors touted it as “minor” I still can’t figure out how the words ‘minor’ and ‘heart surgery’ go together. I was away from home, living out of a suitcase with a toddler, for five days. I hate working from my laptop on a good day, but when you throw in the stress of my dad’s surgery (he’s fine), helping my mom navigate hospital time, ordering food, and dealing with a hotel, AND taking care of the kiddo – it was a lot.
On Saturday, my aunt had a stroke. It was her birthday. What a crappy present. This is my mom’s sister, so my mom is beside herself dealing with a healing husband AND trying to help her brother-in-law from half a state away.
Oh, and on top of all of that, it’s been cold, windy, and snowy for the majority of the last 3 weeks. Trust me, that feels like a major deal from where I’m sitting.
So how do I keep focused on my writing projects in the midst of all of this?
The short answer:
I don’t focus on the PROJECTS. But that doesn’t mean I don’t keep writing.
When life is hard, don't focus on your writing projects - and feeling guilty about your progress. Focus on WRITING. #amwriting Click To TweetLast Tuesday, I still sent out my newsletter and did a blog post. It wasn’t the world’s greatest. But it was still completed. Why? Because I made a promise to myself, back in 2013 that it would happen every Tuesday, and it did.
When I’m tired and stressed and overwhelmed, I don’t deny myself the sanity of reaching for a pen and paper. Letting words, any words, pour out. To help me make sense, make lists, feel in control, rant, rave, pray, beg …
I let go of the mini-goal but hold to the writing. It’s not about the projects in the midst of the chaos. It’s about the writing to find myself.
Here are your five easy-to-consume tips for when it’s just too much:
1. Write anyway.
Don’t censor yourself. Don’t worry about the “project” you should be working on. Let the should fall away and go back to writing with no agenda. Seasons like this do not last forever.
2. Find your non-negotiable – and negotiate everything else.
Everything that could wait, is. Now that I’m home, Dad is healing, my aunt is healing, and the babysitter is still awesome, I’m moving through what had to wait. And I’m doing it in an intentional way.
3. Create a plan. Follow it.
Speaking of the intentional way … I’m a big one for allowing myself to get overwhelmed by thinking I have to get completely caught up in a few hours or a few days. I also gravitate toward the things that don’t REALLY matter.
So instead, I create a plan for what is urgent and important – do that first. Reach out to clients and loop them in. Set realistic deadlines. Ask for help. Breathe.
4. Have faith. Ask for help.
I was always … leery of asking a higher power for help. Like if I couldn’t do it myself, I was somehow unworthy to have God’s help. Now, I have faith in God and I ask Him for help. I also have faith in my friends and family, that they want to help me and will. I ask for it, and allow everyone to be part of my solution.
5. Find something you can complete and control.
With all the unknowns flying fast and piling up, it’s okay for me to gravitate to what I can control and then do that. Often, it’s laundry. Except right now, it’s all clean and piled (I hate folding) so I asked the babysitter to fold it in her cracks of time. (She’s a huge helper with whatever needs doing!)
Ben and I have trimmed some bushes. I hauled a box or three to Goodwill. All finite, concrete tasks I can control and complete.
And through it all … write. Because I can control the words on the page, I can put my thoughts safely onto paper.
Above all, I don’t want to pretend that everything is perfect when it’s not. And I don’t want to pretend that it’s easy in this season of not being easy. Life isn’t horrible, it’s getting better, and it’s still hard right now.
January was when I had wanted to do nothing but support YOU in your dreams of writing a book and help you tap into the fresh possibility of a new year. I’ve got the next round of the VIP Mentorship starting in February and I wanted to spend January filling it with the perfect group of authors.
Here’s the thing though:
I’m not letting you down (your message or your dream) when I’m being honest about the upheavals in my life. Taking an extra week to breathe, adding a few more appointments to my calendar, shifting the start date of the Mentorship back a week… It all serves us to a higher level.
Let’s all take a breath and take a pause. Hug your loved one, drink some water. Shake it off and square your shoulders.
Our messages matter. Let’s do it.
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