Have you ever felt like you just wanted to quit life and go off the grid? Or maybe, you’ve just wanted to go in a soundproof room and holler for a while. Life can be extremely overwhelming and stressful–and I’m right there with y’all. This isn’t my “typical” blog post, but what is? I got to thinking it may help some people, and that is my ultimate goal so here we go!
I’ve gone off the grid lately–but only to the things and people I love most. Life consumed me and swallowed the things I enjoyed, leaving only the things that stressed me behind. As the monotonous day-to-day life continued, I finally decided I had to figure out what the biggest distractions were that were keeping me from my passion, and how to overcome those. I know I can’t be the only one struggling with such, so I decided to post about it, and my progress. This blog is quite a bit longer than some of my others, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the read!
MY FIVE BIGGEST WRITING DISTRACTIONS
- The first and biggest distraction for me is work. Being an adult stinks! Before officially “adulting,” I had the opportunity to work part time and relax. I got to sit out in the sun, go hiking often, and indulge in what made me happy! Now, I get up at 5:45 AM, rush through my morning routine, take care of my puppy, and run out the door. I drive my forty-five minute drive to work, where I stay until 4:30-5:00 PM. I typically get home around 5:30 and then have to spend some time with my puppy, eat dinner, bake whatever desserts have been ordered (which is my side business,) complete my night routine, and collapse into bed–only to do it all again in a few hours. This isn’t even counting getting together with any friends or family, my church schedule, and life’s random demands. It also doesn’t include the things I’m working to add such as working out, cleaning my room and workspace, and journaling. So, as you all probably see now, my day-to-day life leaves me feeling drained and unfulfilled. However, to every problem, there has to be a solution to find! I’ll be the first to tell you, I STRUGGLE with time management. Starting small, there are little ways I can still enjoy things during my Monday through Friday. First, I’ve started listening to audiobooks during my long commute. This still allows the “writer brain” in me to run in the background as I connect the books I’m listening to, to the ten page outline sitting on my computer. Secondly, I have come up with some time management ideas I’m going to be working to implement. To begin, I need to take a weekend, listen to some music and books, and deep clean my house. Key takeaway:
HAVING A CLUTTERED WORKSPACE CLUTTERS THE MIND!
And having so many stories and ideas keeps my mind plenty cluttered without the added stress. To further help, I’m going to begin baking nights, I will bake Tuesday and Thursday, and I will write Monday and Friday evenings. I’m also trying to add daily walks (even if only fifteen minutes) to get some fresh air and clear my mind. I’m planning to do that right before writing to clear plenty of space for creativity!
These are the first steps I will be taking to overcome my first distraction!
- My personal second distraction is my health. I’ve struggled with health the majority of my life. I was diagnosed with Graves Disease at the age of fourteen. I have been diagnosed with various other conditions and my quality of life is poor–maybe one day I will share the mental health effects that had on me and how I overcame those. I know this may be a distraction not shared by most, but perhaps some will relate. I know I haven’t been treating my body right and I feel it! I haven’t been getting enough exercise, or giving my body the right fuel. I’ve been eating too much junk and in turn I am exhausted all the time, I’ve got no energy, and I can’t be as active as I’d like. For this distraction, I have committed to a workout every day–at least thirty minutes. I have also committed to giving up sugar, and cutting back on carbs–cutting out all unhealthy grains. I’m cutting back on caffeine (maybe the hardest one!) and I’m drinking at least 120 ounces of water a day. Changing the way you eat is so difficult as you have to take the time to meal prep, and drive-thru meals are no longer an option for the most part. I know I’ll fail at times or life will get in the way, but I’m going to try my best to see if I can minimize this distraction.
- My third distraction is my lack of inspiration. I’ve touched on this in my previous paragraphs, but now let’s focus on it. When you spend eight hours a day doing responsibilities that do anything but inspire creativity, you’re bound to struggle. Personally, I get the most inspiration from being out in nature, hiking, swimming, fishing, or even walking or relaxing. There’s something about being out in God’s beautiful creation that inspires me! Often I find myself using the beautiful views I see as scenes in stories or books I’m writing. Another thing that that really helps me to create is just having uninterrupted time. Often if I have a distraction free workplace, I can sit at my computer and just write whatever comes to mind, I’ll go over my previous work and often the story will just continue in my head–faster than I can type. If I get stuck, I re-read and usually in five to ten minutes I have another idea to run with. If I only have an hour to write, I do what I can. I try to never judge myself for writing “too little” as that is what I feel makes my writing quality. If I used a bunch of filler sentences and such, my stories would be wordy, repetitive, and generally a bore! I prefer to write less, but it be quality and entertaining. I’m working through this by my daily walks, I’m also trying to do something outdoors every weekend. That I can just relax, enjoy, and get active.
- My fourth writing distraction is stress! (Can everybody say, “Amen!”) Haha! Stress is such a pain because half the time there is nothing you can do about it–and that is where my solution comes in handy! I’ve lately begun to consciously let go of the situation in which I have no control. Why am I going to stress about someone else’s decision when I can do nothing to change it? I control my own thoughts, actions, and choices. I do not control the weather, circumstances, or especially other people. I’m learning to put it all in God’s hands! When I’m stressed about a situation, I’ll say out loud, “Not my choice, not my problem.” I’ll tell God, “I’m giving this situation, in it’s entirety, to You, and I’ll trust You.” Making the conscious decision to only worry about things I can change frees my mind from being consumed by so many worries. When you are feeling like you can’t focus because of worrying about so much, speak it out loud. Say, “I cannot control this situation and I am not going to let it consume me. I choose to think about situations I can change and control. I’m choosing to be happy and not dwell on the negative.” Sometimes just speaking to yourself out loud is all you need to relax and redirect your attention.
- Finally, my fifth distraction from being successful in writing is myself. I’m very critical of my work, and I often erase my progress because “It’s not good enough.” or “I can’t post this! No one will relate!” The list goes on and on. However, then I’ll realize it wasn’t bad! It actually had the potential to be amazing with a little rewording and attention to detail! My biggest regret was erasing my seventy-eight page manuscript because it “just wouldn’t work.” I still kick myself when I think about the hours and hours of hard work I had put into that book. I had researched and made sure my facts were reasonable. It was a modern day mystery novel, quite different from what I had written previously. I had included my best friends as the main characters and it was a special memory. I even had a ten page outline that told every major event in the book and how I wanted to resolve the case–but, in a dramatic show of disgust I clicked “delete.” The second saddest writing mishap was when my twenty-nine page manuscript got deleted by my school. I was in high school and I had the book going on my chrome book (property of the school.) I hadn’t switched it to my laptop yet because I kept it running during any free time I had in class. Then one day they “cleaned up” our chrome books and had us change our accounts. I lost my favorite book! I had been going at it for only a couple weeks and already had so much inspiration. I told myself not to panic, I could rewrite it; however, as I stared at a blank computer page, nothing happened. You can never rewrite something the exact same way it was written. I am still trying to repair that story from years ago, and who knows where it will go; but also who knows where it could’ve gone! The moral of the story here is to give yourself grace, if a story isn’t working, take a break and go back when you can look at it with new eyes! Don’t condemn it to the trash! See where the potential lies, and remember your inspiration for beginning the story in the first place! Write for yourself first, and let everyone else enjoy the benefits! Don’t be too critical, but embrace your own unique writing style and create a masterpiece you can be proud of!