"What are they doing? It's almost midnight," I groan. "I can't concentrate with them making all of that noise."
My husband shakes his head. "You're crazy for trying to write a book during the summer, you know that?"
Here's the thing: I can't wait. I just can't.
To date, I've written four novels and a novella. I'm currently smack-dab in the middle of my second. And guess what? Half of my books have been written during the summer, amidst the usual craziness of kids and horses. The other books were written during November, with holidays and two ever-present children. It's not a great idea, but when I look at my options--writing when my house is empty (which never happens), leaving the house to write (also rare, plus, babysitters. Cha-ching!), writing with WWIII happening all around me, or not writing at all--there really aren't any that make sense. So I grit my teeth and press on with a small goal that keeps me in the writing game without my house crumbling to the foundation.
I'll give you an example. Last July, I took up running. I don't even know why I did it, I just felt like running.
Stars rarely align. If you're waiting for sunny and 70 degrees before you throw a saddle on that horse or lace up your running shoes, well, then you've got a good chance of sitting on the couch forever (especially in Michigan). If you're waiting for a quiet house and you've got four kids, you'll be waiting for 18 years. Longer, if your man-child is also waiting for the perfect conditions to land their dream job and move out of your basement. Like Nike has been telling us for decades, we need to "Just Do It".
The following is a list of simple ideas I've used to help form my daily habit with writing. Maybe you're struggling with getting the ball rolling with writing as well. Or maybe you need help in other areas of your life. This list, specifically, might not help you there, but you're a smart cookie. I'm sure some of these ideas can be adapted to give you the nudge you need. If not, give me a holler. I'll go all drill sergeant on your hiney.
- Noise will always be there. Buy some noise-canceling headphones and drown the kids out for a few, if you have to. I don't have a suggestion for what to do when they tap you on the shoulder or tug at your pant leg, but I hear duct tape works well. Kiddddddding! Only kidding!
- Find a special or quiet(er) spot of the house to hide. Notify your family that they should not bother you when you are in this spot unless there is blood or zombies.
- If your life allows for such luxury, take a little time out to visit a cafe or restaurant that won't mind you hogging a booth for an hour or four. Make sure you recreate any and all action scenes or dialogue because the other patrons love that sort of thing.
- Set a reasonable time limit or easy-to-reach word goal (mine is 400 words. You may prefer writing for 15 minutes or some other benchmark). Then, hit your goal daily. Failure is not an option. And, in the immortal words of the Cobra Kai, "No mercy!"
- Find an awesome friend who will hold you accountable. If you have many writer friends, you probably also have a writer friend who needs someone who will at least act enthusiastic about daily word counts. If you don't have any writer friends, make some on the Interwebs. If you're not down with making virtual friends because, after all, they aren't real people, then snag that bossy friend with the control issue. It's all good.
- Don't forget to reward yourself when you reach a goal. It can be as small as a cup of coffee or a soak in your bathtub, or as big as a yacht or a trip to England--which, by the way, I'm tagging along on. Cheerio!
Leave a comment below sharing your best "Just Do It" tip that keeps you motivated when you just don't wanna.