unqualified writing advice – the failure

Well. It happened.

I dropped my writing routine.

First, I need to defend myself. I didn’t mean to do it. I got bogged down with my 9 to 5 and the part-time work that I took on to help pay the bills. I got distracted by the amount of work I have for a scholarly edited collection that I am working on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write. I swear it. It was that I was working 11 hour days just trying to get everything done. And when that was over, I needed time to unplug. I watched TV. I played video games. I wasted time…

At this point, I think there are people out there who would say, “Suck it up. You need to write no matter the circumstance. You need the obey the routine.” I think those people are in the minority. The truth is that life will always get in the way and my working a second job is more important (at least right now) than me feeling good about putting down 500 words a night. You might be in similar circumstances. And that is okay.

After a week of hard deadlines and brain melting work, there was no way the writing was going to get done. It just wasn’t going to happen and on that Tuesday, I just accepted that my 500 words a night was on hold for a short period of time.

It’s not fun and it’s not easy. But sometimes you need to think about what is best for yourself. Sometimes, that means making sacrifices.

Did I sink my short stories and novels by missing a week? No. Did I end a streak of great creative momentum? Yeah, maybe.

But momentum comes back. It always does. I sat down on Sunday and just let myself relax. I cooked, ironed, cleaned, played video games, and watched TV/movies. I told myself that on Monday I would start my schedule again. Back to the writing, back to the grind. These breaks can sometimes lead to more breaks. So, making sure you have a start date is important. You can honor that easier than providing no self-defined goals.

And here I am. You’ll probably read this in the future sometime. But I’m back. It’s Monday and it’s my lunch break and I’m writing again.

There are a thousand things to be discouraged over when you are pursuing an art form that rarely provides opportunities for affirmation. Don’t let a slip up be another let down.

Don’t get me wrong. You can’t stop writing just because you don’t feel like it and then call it a routine disruption. You need to write when its uncomfortable and boring and exhausting. Sometimes, though, there are bigger things that will need your attention. You need to give yourself the permission to deal with those realities and to not punish yourself for breaking routine.



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