What if life never got in the way of writing? What if I told you there was a way to guarantee you’d always be able to write? (Even if you have “writer’s block.” Even when you don’t feel like it. Even on those days you can’t get out of your own way.)
Clearly I can’t guarantee anything, but I can tell you WRITING IS A CHOICE. (So is everything else you do.) To make that choice, you may have to make other tough choices. It’s all about making writing a priority. And to do that, you need to be prepared.
What is a survival pack?
One morning I was texting my friend Dede Nesbitt (also an Admin Assistant here at WU) about my writing productivity woes. I was distracted by everything. Everything. Everything. It was one of those days I didn’t feel like writing. I was “stuck” on a difficult scene I wasn’t sure how to resolve. I’d been dragging around the house and hadn’t gotten around to exercising or showering. She was having a similar day (although to be fair, her problems seemed much more pressing: her two young kids and dog were energetically running around the house because it was a teacher in-service day. She was equally frustrated, though, that writing was often taking a back seat to… well, lots of things.).
Anyway. You get the point.
We texted back and forth about what to do about it. During the course of the conversation we came up with the idea. We needed something, some way to protect our writing, to make our writing top priority, to make sure we were able to write everyday. In short, we needed a way to survive. Survive as writers. To rescue our writing. And that’s when we came up with the—wait for it—survival pack.
You Are Not Alone
I know what you’re thinking. Come on. A survival pack? What does that even mean?
Think of it.
You’re stuck on a particular character or scene and you avoid your work in progress. Or your kids are sick. Or you’re not feeling well, but you’re not so sick that your life is on hold. Or you don’t feel like you have time to write—just that hour between dropping your car off at the mechanic and making dinner. Or you really don’t have time to write: you work full-time and after you put your kids to bed when you usually write, you just want to sit down with a glass of wine.
Maybe it’s even worse… maybe you’re so far out of the writing life, so off your writing game you can’t imagine finding a way back to your work in progress.
Or even to writing—at all.
Here’s a Case Study (hint: this is me): I have a manuscript in the middle of revision, but I was not making great progress because I have an overly-active and reactive rescue dog who needs (or thinks she needs) to go out every five minutes. I was flying by the seat of my pants for meals, going to the grocery store every day. I wasn’t exercising regularly, and every morning I meandered to my writing, visiting several social media sites before I even started writing (Instagram is my drug of choice so that also entailed going out and getting the best photo possible for the most likes possible). After I sat down to work, if I got stuck on a scene, I’d go back on Instagram (gotta check those likes, right?) OR I’d do something even more embarrassing to admit: I’d play Two Dots on my phone. [Read more…]