Things have been a little crazy in blog-land…
So if you check the blog frequently, waiting with baited breath for the latest update (or even if you just check in once a week), you’ve probably noticed something the past month or so… Namely, the posting frequency has gone down. WAY down.
We’re talking once a week. Last week we didn’t manage to get a post up on the site at all — even though we had a few articles in the queue, waiting for Lauren and I to work our editorial magic.
There’s a few reasons for this. First, my husband’s laptop got fried. So for a couple of weeks we only had one computer between the two of us! As you can imagine, that really cut down on the amount of time I was able to devote to the site. Luckily, he’s the kind of guy who backs up his machine on a daily basis, rain or shine. (And if you can’t remember to back up your machine regularly, do yourself a favor…set up some kind of automated system to remember for you. You really, really don’t want to lose your novel-in-progress due to a misplaced beverage or hardware malfunction. Here’s the service I recommend.)
While all this was going on, I was also dealing with a few really big projects at work. And Lauren was busy making all of us jealous with a vacation to Ireland! (Hey Lauren…pics for the blog or it didn’t happen.) This site is a labor of love for us, and we both have day jobs. When it comes time to choose between real life outside of work and the blog, well…we’re crazy enough to dedicate more of our free time to the blog than most people would. But sometimes we don’t actually have a choice.
Why am I bringing this up now? Well, for one, I want to be honest about the reason the site’s slowed down. We’re going to be cranking things back up to 2-3 posts a week from here on out. If you want to make sure you don’t miss a thing, be sure to sign up for our new email newsletter. (Okay, shameless plug over.)
But the other reason is this…
Running headfirst into “real life” isn’t a unique problem!
Every writer out there has been through this. It’s unavoidable. Sometimes, you just don’t have the free time to write as often as you’d like. Sometimes you don’t have the free time to do any writing at all.
And you know what?
That’s 100% okay!
I know this is a radical thing to tell aspiring writers. You’ll read article after article (some of them on this site) telling you how important it is to set up and stick to a consistent writing schedule, day in and day out, rain or shine.
And while a writing schedule is a powerful part of any writer’s toolkit…you have to be gentle with yourself. Stressing yourself out only leads to burnout. It may sound heretical to say this, but here it is: sometimes, other stuff in life is just more important than your writing.
I know it sounds crazy coming from someone who writes for a living. Someone who’s built an entire life that hinges completely on being able to write every single day on command. But it’s the truth. It took throwing myself full-time into professional writing for it to really click for me.
It’s true that writing regularly can help you get through tough times. But sometimes what you really need is a day — or week, or month — of creative downtime. Time to rest your creative muscles. Time to work through the pressures of day to day life without the added stress of sticking to a writing schedule. Time to catch up on sleep. Time to unwind with a good movie. Time to reconnect with old friends. Time to really appreciate your family, your SO, your cat or dog.
And writers, collectively, need to accept that it’s okay to dedicate time to ourselves instead of beating ourselves up about failing to stick to a schedule.
Because guilt doesn’t help. It doesn’t inspire us. It only brings out the worst of our creative impulses – the sloppy, resentful words of a writer who just wants to hit their goal for the day so they can move on to something else. Obviously, there are some people out there who make excuse after excuse for why they’re not honing their craft…but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Sometimes, the best prose and the most magnificent verse doesn’t come from just pushing through. It comes from allowing your writing to come at its own pace, by simply sitting back and waiting.
Ever struggled with life getting in the way? How did you finally make it out of your slump? Share your story in the comments below.