May was a hell of a month.
It was a month filled with doctor appointments, the creation of a pilot training program for work, line edits that kicked my butt, and at the very end, a medical emergency that required a fast trip to the ER.
Please note that 90% of the medical stuff was actually my partner, who has been dealing with several health issues that we’re trying to get a handle on. She suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I accompany her to most of her doctor appointments. And she’s fine; the medical emergency was a very bad reaction to a new medication–hives, swelling of the face (and eyes! O.o), and the beginnings of trouble breathing. Fortunately, having experienced an allergy to medication myself, I knew exactly what to do. By the time we reached the hospital the Zyrtec I’d given her was already taking effect and helping the breathing and the hives.
Still, it wasn’t a great month for trying to be a writer. And that brings me to today’s subject.
Real life kicks our butts sometimes. It can be the day job, relationship issues, health, family–you name it. Life has a tendency to try and crowd out writers’ efforts to carve out time to do the thing they love most. Even scheduling writing time doesn’t always work because emergencies can come out of the blue.
I think the key to being successful is to just get back into the chair as soon as you can. I met my May goal for my main writing project (the one with a deadline) because I forced myself to write and catch up to my daily word goals: 400 words a day, five days a week on that book. I let other projects slip because there just weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. And yet even though the month felt terrible, I still managed to write over 12,000 words total.
So the key to success in writing, like the key to success in anything else in life, is persistence. Try to schedule time for the activity. If something comes up, schedule a makeup session. Try for a daily minimum word count, but be realistic. I feel irritated on any “writing day” that I don’t get any words out. I try to take that fuel and use it to write more the next day. But I also try not to beat myself up if some other part of my life demands attention. Prioritize each day, and try to balance the things in your life.
It just takes dedication.