Write It Sideways

What to Do When Your Writing Takes a Back Seat

Today’s post is written by Krissy Brady, a finalist in The First Ever Write It Sideways Blogging Contest. Thanks, Krissy!

No matter how passionate we are about our writing, and no matter how determined we are to balance the writing career we are creating with our already full-time life, there will be times where we feel as if the cosmos are against us—more often than not, finding the time to accomplish our writing goals can seem as elusive as a unicorn.

There is one thing we all need to remember during times like this, and it’s that we will reach our writing goals. It’s something that we are confident about when we’re on a roll, writing so much we’re afraid we may run out of paper, but something that fades once we’ve experienced setbacks.

Sure, life barely goes as planned, but the fact remains that our writing stems from our experiences. Without them, we would end up writing the most horrible garbage known to man; an episode of Jersey Shore would have more depth.

So, when things become hectic, how would one go about scheduling their time so that their writing goals don’t suffer? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Set your schedule free.

During times where we have varying responsibilities on our plate, we start out with a positive perspective on the situation: we create a concrete schedule, determined that we can accomplish everything we need to like superheroes, without our writing goals being effected. Then, interruptions happen: our computer crashes, our little friend procrastination comes to visit, the intimidation of the blank page overwhelms us, or the flu knocks us out of commission and delays all aspects of our lives.

When we create a schedule to balance our lives with our writing, we have a tendency to only plan out the technical aspects of reaching our goals; we leave out the time needed for any potential interruptions and setbacks, including emotional, that may delay us.

Keep in mind that once your schedule is created, it can always be modified. This is a big lesson I’ve learned—too often I felt as if not completing my writing checklist for the day meant Armageddon, when in fact I could modify my schedule based on the challenges arising in my life. Sure, some writing goals might take a little longer than anticipated, but they are still attainable. This has helped me to stay productive and avoid feeling defeated.

2. When revising your schedule, prioritize your writing tasks.

If you find that you’re crunched for time and won’t reach the writing goals you had hoped to, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never reach them, it just means you won’t reach them as quickly as you wanted to.

Look over the writing goals you had hoped to accomplish, and prioritize them. You might be thinking, “But all of my writing projects are my priority.” Maybe so, but if you look over your projects, organizing them by urgency—call for submissions deadlines, writing contest deadlines, dates you promised to have articles submitted by, etc.—this will ensure you won’t miss the writing opportunities that can pass you by.  Personal deadlines, i.e. “I want to submit three batches of poems to literary magazines this month,” can wait until your schedule is less hectic.  There are plenty of literary magazines out there, and lucky for us, they’re not going anywhere.

3. When your schedule lightens, catch up with your writing goals by taking part in a writing challenge (or creating one of your own).

April is filled-to-the-brim with writing challenges: there is the Poetic Asides Poem a Day Challenge, hosted by Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest, the Ultimate Blog Challenge where participants write a blog post per day for 30 days, and the Script Frenzy challenge, where writers spend the month of April writing a 100-page script. Challenges like these are the perfect opportunity to catch up on those projects you had to temporarily set aside, and if there isn’t one currently taking place that suits you, why not create one of your own? Whether striving to write a certain amount of words per day until you’re back on track, or submitting a certain amount of query letters per month, the sky is the limit.

No matter what happens in your life that delays your writing goals or makes them more difficult to accomplish, it is always possible to reach them. Whether you use the exact tips above, or they inspire you to create solutions that work for you, you spirits will rise, your productivity will increase, and your writing career will thank you for it.

Krissy Brady is a freelance writer located in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada. She is a blogger dedicated to keeping the passion for writing alive, and is currently working on her first novel, poetry collection and screenplay. To learn more and keep in touch with Krissy, visit her blog at krissybrady.com, and follow her through RSSFacebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for the latest writing-related information.