Not the primates. More like the warfare.
Busy Kelly is Busy. Again. Still. Always. I feel like I’ve written this same post twelve times over the past year. “I’m so frickin’ busy!”
Sometimes finding writing time is easy. Friends are busy doing other things; it’s too cold/hot/rainy/dry to do yard work or exercise outdoors; the spouse it cooking dinner tonight; there’s nothing good on TV. Sure, there’s always something to read/do/watch/bitch about on the internet, but if that siren song can be ignored for an hour, it’s all good.
It’s a little trickier when Real Life rears its head. Yes, I’ve been particularly busy over the past year, but I’ve managed to write several short stories, finish one novel, start another, and get a contract for a secret project. That secret project is due soon, and I’ve got to get crackin’ on it. This is not an arbitrary deadline; I’ve got a whole lot of words due in about thirty days. This will necessitate a change in protocol. Normally, I reserve writing for evenings and weekends. Now, though, I’m going to employ the stealth mode of writing. On the train. At lunch hour. Staying up a bit later at night. That sort of thing.
I’m a bit exhilarated, actually. Sure, stressed, but excited and pumped up.
In my ongoing effort to acknowledge the good that’s happening in my life, this past weekend I celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom, who is recovering well after a bone marrow transplant last month. Also celebrated husband’s birthday on Saturday with presents and shopping for things for our new house. Oh, I didn’t mention I was moving? I am, because apparently I needed another challenge in my life–more likely I’m just insane. 😉
I’m also on pins and needles waiting to hear more about the secret projects Kelly and Gary are working on. Celebrating friends’ writing accomplishments is an awesome thing, and it energizes me in my own writing.
As if that weren’t enough good stuff, I also celebrated my graduation from the U of I Springfield’s online English program, so now I have a degree to go with my publishing credits, which, as my brother-in-law likes to joke, is doing it all backwards, but whatever works, heh.
But the thing that has me the most tickled right at this particular moment? Pierre van Rooden is doing a Countdown to Gen Con on Facebook, making up a fun collectible game card for each day from now until the convention to spotlight games, events, participants, etc. And he made a card for me.
You know what that means, right?
Yep, even if I get squashed by a meteor tomorrow, I will depart the earth knowing that I was on a trading card. I have a casting cost and everything.
Doesn’t get much better than that.
So I’ve been in the middle of a relocation for … well, too long. And now myself and my husband are in the beginning stages of the end game: getting our house ready to put on the market. We’ll be making the move to Chicago in mid-May and should be living full-time in the big city by June. I said all of that to say this: writing around my chaotic schedule for the past several months has been a bit of a challenge and it’s about to get worse.
Some of the other group members have talked before about life getting in the way of writing. This is a reality of the writer’s life–if it’s not a move, it’s kids; if it’s not kids, it’s that concert from the band you love; if it’s not the concert it’s a family reunion that eats the entire weekend. It’s always something. It’s easy to let that stuff get in the way of writing, and before you know it, it’s been two weeks and you haven’t written a word. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years, and I’m counting on them to keep me sane in the coming months.
1. Do something every day to make your dreams a reality. I’m leaning on this pretty heavily right now. Normally when I’m working on a novel I like to write 1K at day, which in reality averages out to be about 5K a week. I sometimes get more or less depending on life. Getting words on the page and generating new content is definitely the goal; however, if I’m super-busy and can’t squeeze in an hour or two of writing, I do things like read, submit stories to open markets, or listen to audiobooks. If I’m not actively putting words on the page, I try to find other ways I can further my career or learn about the craft.
2. Manage expectations. I know I’m not going to write 5K a week for the next several weeks. I *know* that isn’t going to happen. So instead of beating myself up about it, I accept what I can do. That’s not to say I can blow off writing entirely: “Well, the spring is shot, I just won’t writing until June.” For one thing, it’s counter-productive to tip number one. For another, the writer-brain is a muscle–you have to use it to keep it limber and toned. It’s also not an all-or-nothing proposition. So I can’t make 5K this week. I’ll try for 2.5K or 1K. Writing one page a day will give you a novel in a year, you know.
3. Juggle priorities. Writing is always a priority for me–it’s just a matter of making sure it doesn’t fall off the bottom of the list. Right now I’m not playing guitar or exercising as much as I’d like. Those activities will return once life settles down a bit; for now, I put fewer “optional” tasks on the list to be sure writing happens.
4. Take a deep breath. Relax. It’s not the end of the world if I don’t write tonight. But tomorrow? There has to be words on the page.