My writing day starts early. Well, my whole day starts early. 5:30AM early. I remember several years ago, when I spent more time on Twitter, I had writer friends who participated in a 5AM writer’s group. They’d check in with each other, post word counts, get their writing done before the rest of the day. I always thought it was so great but knew I’d never be able to get up that early to write. Now, thanks to my kids’ school schedule, I do have to get up that early, but my brain is way too foggy to put words to paper. Or screen. So, instead, I get all the school prep, driving, and around the house tasks done first. Then once they’re both at school, I water my garden, make myself breakfast, and at around 9AM, I settle in to write.
Well, sometimes. Because most of the time, there’s a lot of admin work to get done. Lots of emails, promo, interviews, social media posts, blurbs. I try to schedule out my day so that I can clear my schedule and To-Do list as much as possible, that way I can write with a clear head. Because unfortunately, just as I’m cursed to be a chronological writer who can never seem to write out of order–even when that means writing faster–I’m also that anxious writer that can not focus on writing if I have something pressing on my calendar or task list.
So, once I’ve done that as much as possible, I put on my headphones, and play some kind of quiet music—nothing with lyrics, because again, distractions—and I write until it’s time to pick up my son. I try to stay as focused as possible, in that window of time, because I know once I letmyself become distracted, it takes forever to get back into the groove. If all of this sounds like a lot of back and forth, it is! It’s definitely a struggle, but one thing that has helped me a ton as a writer is to stop beating myself up when I do become distracted. Accept that it’s going to happenand keep it moving. I’m learning to work with my brain instead of against it. Sometimes that means writing in twenty minute sprints, sometimes that means closing all the curtains and keeping my office quiet and dark, other times that means writing outside in the sunshine, away from the pile of dishes and laundry.
This is my job, which means all those dreams became deadlines and it’s not just me, with my head in the clouds, or stuck in some story. There are editors, publicists, my agent. We’re a teamthat all depends on the other getting their work done, but it’s important to take care of ourselves in the process. To work with our brains instead of against them. To rest. And I’ll always try to do my best to meet my anxious mind where it writes best; in the quiet, sometimes sunshine, but always in order.