Okay, I have a confession to make. I'm totally embarrassed to admit this...but April is almost over and aside from my blog I have done next to no writing. Part of this is because I've been away from home a lot and it has just been a very busy season for my family.
|Me holding my new baby nephew|
My middle sister had her second baby, little Daniel. I spent a whole week at her house with the kids doting on this little guy. Babies don't keep as my grandmother used to say, so we had to enjoy this time with Daniel as much as we could.
|My daughter with her Papa|
My daughter had her 8th grade formal. Several days of planning and helping to decorate went into that event. I also helped chaperone. I was glad I did. She had a good time but she enjoyed having me around to hang out with some. I think she cleaned up pretty good.
|My sister is the short blond in the blue dress walking offstage|
My second trip away from home involved my youngest sister. She's finishing up her third year in pharmacy school. This past weekend I traveled to Birmingham, AL to celebrate her pinning ceremony. It is a tradition at Samford University and marks the end of her class work and the beginning of her pharmacy rotations.
I've also been trying to get most of my assigned reading done in preparation for my residency for school. In a couple of days, I will be reading a workbook's worth of writing excerpts for the other writers in my residency workshop. Still, it has been hard not having the time to concentrate on my writing. When life gets in the way of your writing life its good to remember that if we didn't take the time to live we wouldn't have anything to write about. That being said when things interrupt your normal work schedule here are few tips for things you can do to get back into the daily routine of writing.
1. Write in short increments of time. Even if you only work on one scene or one paragraph of a scene for 15 minutes it helps you stick with a daily pattern. And as things get less busy you can build on that time to work longer.
2. If for some reason a longer project is giving you grief consider writing a short story or an article for a magazine or writing contest. Sometimes when you've had a long stretch of time away from your notepad or computer working on a shorter project with a set deadline helps you focus. Plus if you win prize money or get paid for the project it bolsters your self confidence.
3. If writing everyday isn't possible, then spend some days doing market research on viable places you can submit your work. By looking at who agencies, publishers, and magazines or journals have published or represented in the past you can get a feel for where you own work might be well received. It also helps you improve as a writer by reading the published work of others.
4. If these don't work and you are determined to stick with a longer piece of writing or a novel, but you're stuck, maybe you need to do some research. One fun way to accomplish this is to pretend you are that character and visit a location from your story. Observe the sights, sounds, and scents of the place. Look at what other people there are doing. Listen to the dialects and tones of their conversations. Think about how your character or subject would react to this setting. Let what you see and hear play out in the scene you've created or are trying to create in that place. If possible take a pocket notebook and even a camera with you to record what you observe.
5. Finally, if life continues to interrupt you then it might be time to reassess your time commitments and decide if there is a way to cut back on some of them. If your writing is really important to you then you need to make that clear to your family and friends. Demand time for yourself to be creative and just write.
Even if you aren't a writer but still work from home and feel you're losing focus some of these tips can apply to get you back on schedule. Work for short increments of time and build on that. Focus on projects that have set deadlines first. Take time to update yourself on current trends or demands in your area of expertise. And if all else fails get out of the house and go for a walk or meet with contacts in your area of interest to talk shop. Remember we are all our own best advocates no matter what we do. So don't panic or beat yourself up when spring busyness like I've been facing arrives. Instead, consider trying out some of these tips and hopefully you can get back on schedule and your work back in focus.