The weekend has rolled around, yet again. And your writing to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer. You have a million and one other things you have to do before you feel like you can ‘indulge’ in your writing—things like laundry, dishes, feeding yourself, working a ‘real’ job that pays the monthly bills, resting because you’re sick and absolutely knackered from working that said real job… you get the picture.
If it does, good news is that you’re not alone. It’s a fact of life that there will be a hundred things happening at the same time, all equally important and vying for your attention.
But that doesn’t mean that your writing has to take a backseat. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty that we take time out of our crazy schedules just to sit down (or go on walks) to think and feel (and write). Even if we don’t actually get much writing done, the thinking is an absolutely important part of the writing process. So don’t feel guilty!
What are the things we can do to help ourselves do the things that need to be done (including writing) and not kill ourselves in the process?
1. Prioritise, plan, and stick to the g*ddamn plan.
This is fairly simple. First, prioritise what needs to be done. Do you need clean clothes and underwear and your wardrobe is empty and you still have to show up to work in a somewhat presentable manner? Then prioritise your laundry. Plan what you’re going to do in your week or day. While your clothes and stinky undies are in the wash, perhaps you could make yourself an easy meal. Something good for you, but easy to make. Like grilled fish and steamed veggies. Yum. And then sit down in your favoured thinking/feeling/writing spot and start working. And stick to the damn plan! Who cares if your favourite TV show is now on?
2. Be kind. To yourself.
If you’re exhausted, you need to rest. You need to be mentally recharged and refreshed and rested before you’re of any use to anyone, including yourself! Resting is not something to feel guilty about. If you’re tired, you think you’re gonna be doing any quality writing?
3. Schedule set times/days for loved ones.
Spend time with the people you love and who love you. Listen to them. Listen to their stories. Ask them about their day. Be present. And when that’s done, you’ll have had a quality connected time with them, and to add to that, you’ll have more understanding of other people, which can only fuel your writing and add to the quality of your writing. A hermit does not make a good writer. We write to be read. We write about life (whatever the subject matter, it all eventually comes back to the human condition). If you don’t spend time with other people, learning from them and looking at things from their perspectives, you’re gonna have a narrow worldview.
4. Do the work.
We all get lazy sometimes. Art is work. It’s hard work. It tires you out. Because you have to give yourself to it. Because it’s a craft. It’s a skill. It’s something you practise. Not something that just appears out of nowhere. Sit your ass down and give yourself a goal—500 words, 1,000 words, 10,000 words, whatever, just do it. Even 10 words is better than none at all.