Life isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s just awful. Still, you’re a writer, and you need to write, both for your craft and your own mental health. Whatever your facing, whether it be chronic illness, a death in the family, or a surprise crisis, you can still write. These simple suggestions will help you do it.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s hard to overstate how important sleep is to a healthy body and mind. Make sure you rest, even if that means hitting a smaller word count goal than you initially planned. Writing is about both quality and quantity, but there’s no point writing when you fall asleep at the computer. Also, keep in mind that the sleepier you are as you write, the more errors appear. That means more work editing and more frustration in the morning. Sleep may feel like a waste of time, but it’s an investment well worth the hours you trade.
Find a Support Structure for Life
Everyone faces loss, setbacks, and even catastrophes. When you have a support structure in place to help you deal with the everyday repercussions of those days, you can keep yourself from crumbling. Work with your partner, your family, and your friends. They may be able to help with things like childcare, cooking, and transportation to give you an hour or two of writing time once a day, or even once every other day.
Find a Beta Buddy
Writing takes a lot out of you. Characters channel your emotions, and your focus pours into the details of your plots and schemes. When life becomes overwhelming, it’s easy to react to your work in strange new ways. Maybe you suddenly hate everything you write. Maybe you feel like you lost your voice. In these times, a close beta reader can really help.
They read what you write once a week, once a month, once a day, or whenever you just need an outside opinion to battle the voices inside trying to tear you away from your work. A beta reader may not always tell you everything is perfect and wonderful, but they combat the warped reality twisted by stress and circumstance.
Don’t Pressure Yourself
Stress every once and a while can be good. We’ve all had that sudden burst of productivity before a deadline. Living under pressure all day every day isn’t the same. It drains you, reduces your ability to work, and seriously damages your health. When life is stressful, make writing a little easier. Reduce your daily word count, work on smaller projects, or just take a break for a few days. The story is still in you. It will be there when you can finally breathe again.
Focus on What’s Important
If you’re a steady writer, you probably still had deadlines to meet. You can’t just stop writing entirely. That’s okay. You can still take breaks and pace yourself. It’s all about organization. Develop a schedule that will let you meet your deadlines with the least amount of pressure. Leave lots of time for small breaks, rewrites, and even breakdowns. Once you see where you’re going, it’s easier to navigate, even if you have to pass through some rapids on your way.
Hopefully, life will improve for you soon. In the meantime, you can keep writing. Just remember to be patient with yourself, take care of your physical and mental health, and be willing to accept help.