Last week, I shared with you some of the ways I cope with internal struggles. I opened up about how fear can allow doubt to settle and fester in the deepest parts of your mind, causing you to move forward with trepidation when you should be moving with boldness and confidence. As D.W and I work on book 3 of the Necromancers’ Pride Saga, Storm of Shadows, we have to deal with these real fears in constructive and healing ways. In a perfect scenario, doubt does not enter into the equation and we have all day to write at our leisure. However, scenarios are rarely if ever perfect and we want to show you what our journey of creation is like in the real world that we all occupy.
This week, I want to share with you how I have overcome some external troubles that threatened to derail our work on Storm of Shadows. This past weekend I was quite ill. Two words for you: kidney stones. Yep. If you have had them, I need say no more. If you have not, give thanks to your lucky stars and pray that this plague passes you by. I was out for the better part of the weekend, barely able to form a cogent sentence, much less write one. I am thankfully much better now. Having said that, tomorrow marks the first day of school for my children. It is very exciting, as well as being very action packed. Clothes must be ironed, supplies must be sorted and packed, new school year documents must be signed, to name only a few responsibilities on my plate today. All this, and the story must still be written.
I say all this to let you know that life gets in the way … often. You can learn to control your fear and manage your doubts, but what happens when factors beyond your control conspire against you? Here are a few quick tips I am utilizing now. I hope they help you too.
- Mental, physical and spiritual time blocks. Set aside time in your day to write. That is the mental time block. First thing in the morning (or immediately after you read this post), commit to yourself a chunk of time that you can promise yourself words on the page. Even if that will not be until tonight, you must make that commitment. Then, block out the rest of your week. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish when you write that commitment down. Healthy body, healthy mind. Set aside some time to focus on your body. I train kung fu. However, even a 20 minute walk outside will get your juices flowing and give you a clearer mind to focus on all the tasks at hand keeping you from your writing. Spiritual time is just a few minutes of you time. This could mean prayer, meditation or just silent reflection. Get in touch with the creative being that manifests the stories your conscious mind turns into words. Just ten minutes of stillness and solitude can do you a world of good. Today may be crazy, but even the tiniest effort at organization can bring order to the chaos in amazing ways.
- Glass IS half full. I was not able to write this weekend, nor does it look like I will have huge chunks of time to do so today. SO? I cannot control what I cannot control, but I can bring what order is possible to the chaos of the day. Being negative and looking at what I have not done will only make the day weigh more heavily on me. Instead, I choose to look at what I have accomplished. D.W. and I have spoken at great length about the chapters to come, so when I do get the opportunity to focus on the world of Tarune, my time will be spent very productively. Don’t look at what you have not accomplished. Look at what you have done and how you can build on it. Today is going to go by whether you are in a good mood or not, might as well put your best face on it and attack it with a smile.
- Turn to your friends and family. This is the same advice as for dealing with the intrinsic troubles that may strike. We all know of a person who is a master at organizing their schedules (for me, it is D.W.). Talk to that person, tell them you need a hand in blocking out your time. Jump online and find some time management tips, then call your friend to help you implement them. Our friends and family are our greatest resources. As I said last week, the misconception is that, to be a writer, one must live a lonely existence. All the external pressures of the day can add to that feeling of isolation. Do not let them! You may write by yourself at times, but you are not alone. Your family is here. Your friends are here. D.W. and I are here. We answer every comment. If you need a reassuring presence to bolster you in your journey, we are here.
So, I face the challenges of this week, both on Earth and on Tarune, with a smile in my heart and a stone out of my body. Believe you can accomplish your goals and you can. I hope this helps you when things seem to be a bit out of control. Don’t worry, the control ultimately resides with you.
What tips do you have to keep your focus and stay in control when life gets busy?
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