I've held off posting my blog today because, honestly, my co-SFFSeveners have already nailed this topic: how to keep to a writing schedule when life goes off the rails. May I take a moment to point you to K.A. Krantz's post about being flexible enough to make new routines when your beloved routines become untenable? And also Jeffe Kennedy's post about using your writing habit as a sort of bedrock upon which to build a stable structure of routines?
I point you elsewhere because I have to confess that when my world is on fire, I haven't found a good solution for plugging my brain into writing. And the world has been on fire a lot of late. These last two years have been brutal for a lot of us. Losing my writing way was the easiest loss to bear. Well, maybe not the easiest: not having to put make-up on or dress snappily has been so lovely I wouldn't even call it a loss. Similar reaction to the lack of human contact: this introvert does intermittent quarantine like a champ.
When I have managed to make words, my magic has been
- Deadlines. Seriously, these things are like instant stories for me. I miss real ones so much, but self-created ones are still somewhat helpful.
- Turning off all news and social media.
- I'm serious about that one. No news. No social.
Part of me is still aware that the world is having major problems. I wouldn't be human if I could just shut off concern for my fellow humans (India! Gaza! so much suffering, too much), but when there's nothing I can do to directly change the horrors, I need to stop getting constant updates on them, donate where I can, and focus on this tiny bubble of reality around me.
You know what really helps with that? Writing spec fic. When my own world sucks beyond all hope, I can make up a new one, a better one, and the hope of that act can get emotional-sponge me to the next day.
Consider this post blanket permission to not know about every little bad thing in our world. Be kind to you. Protect your made-up happy space. If self-protection means leaning on your writing routine for stability, like Jeffe recommends, do that. Lots of that. If it means coming up with a new, more workable routine a la KAK? Do it.
If it means standing in your back yard, talking to your plants about a story idea that really makes you happy and that you may or may not ever get around to writing? Don't shame yourself for that either. It's still nurturing your creative brain, despite the world.