This question came to mind a few months ago and the answer I continued to give, shifted daily. With National Novel Writing Month here, a lot of life and writing practices go hand in hand. I’ve listed two major components on how writing and life work together.
As always, I post blogs on Monday’s and Wednesday’s. Check out the new menu options that I am beginning to add to this blog. I hope you enjoy today’s blog blurb.
Finding what works for you
Two elements of writing and life collide, when you begin to set goals for your writing career and your personal life. For example, journaling everyday helps clear my mind and lets me think out solutions to every day problems. Journaling to me, is an act of writing by hand . I always argue that I do write every morning by journaling.
Then some days, journaling is the only writing I accomplish. Those are the days where I clean or go run errands. The feeling of having felt like you haven’t written anything when you come home is discouraging.
Last night, this phrase played through my brain while I was binge watching a show on Hulu. You can start again tomorrow. I knew that attempting to write at night after an emotionally taxing day wasn’t going to be a smart move for me. I’ve read arguments that in the early morning or late at night are the best times to write, because you are exhausted and just words fly from your fingertips. A couple of weeks ago, I practiced writing at night time and found that that lifestyle doesn’t work too well for me. mornings and mid-afternoons work well for me.
For a while, I was working out after class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now, I’ve began shifting my workouts to mid mornings. This is because I always felt better if I worked out before class and had that workout done. It wouldn’t be something I had the option of procrastinating on.
My work schedule also allowed this change to unfold- affecting when I write as well. It’s okay not to write every day. While it helps to write every day you can try what works for you. Have a long commute? Consider recording yourself talk out loud novel ideas. Have an “ah-ha” moment during a lunch break or at your desk? Sticky notes come in handy for those spur of the moment ideas.
Mental health can affect your writing and personal life.
At times, I have found clarification moments during bouts of depression. Over the past two years, I’ve had most of my novel, screenplay, and blog ideas come to fruition when I’m curled up in bed, starring at the ceiling in the midst of anxiety or depression. This is when I usually find a way to get myself to record out loud my ideas, or write a note on my phone. I’ve always been too lazy to get out of bed during those moments. Some days, I move my technology into the other room so I won’t be disturbed. The joys of living alone also help me learn to work through life events on my own.
Which leads me to my next point: evolving is okay. I used to enjoy attending write-ins with a medium sized group of people. Over the past year, I’ve become more introverted with my writing and social life. As someone who has always been surrounded by people, the transition was unexpected and needed at the same time. This past Saturday, I felt alone but didn’t want to go socialize. It took a few hours to convince myself that it’s okay to re-energize for a later social event. It was even possible for me to say “hey, you have friends and you might feel lonely, but you need to rest and recharge.”
Resting and recharging also applies to writing. I’ve learned to take at least one day off per week (yes, even during NaNoWriMo) from writing. It allows me to go work on other life events. TV time, errands, school work- the list goes on. I usually spend that day learning languages or English grammar and punctuation rules.
Pacing. You don’t have to write the whole book in one night. Find a way to accomplish one writing goal and one personal goal a day. Add a second goal for fitness or mental health, whichever works for you.
SMART. Setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. For example, each month I create a set of personal goals and then a monthly writers map. I’ve started to not use the writers map as much, but I have found that the goal setting system for personal goals works well for writing goals.
Specific: Posting two blogs per week, on Monday’s and Wednesday’s
Measurable: Daily word count
Achievable: Fitness hour on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Racquetball on Thursday’s, 5K training on Tuesday’s & Thursday’s.
Relevant: Academic hour and Writing Hour.
Time bound: Running in the OKC 5K in April 2019. Boosting my GPA, one class at a time.
Check out these previous blogs on writing and mental health:
What are some life and writing living styles have you noticed work well with your life? Let’s have a chat in the comment section and I wish you the best this month!
Danielle (link to Twitter)