“I have more time with everything shut down. I should be tearing through this project.”
I heard this over and over from writers in the early weeks of the pandemic. Social media in April 2020 was filled with ideas to fill the “spare time” on your hands. Learn a new skill! Take virtual tours! And on paper, it was the perfect opportunity to finish that writing project.
Except that many writers in my communities were admitting something to each other in whispers.
“I haven’t been writing.”
Change. Stress. Uncertainty. Any one of these can trigger a bout of writer’s block. But all three was a perfect storm for many writers with big writing plans this year. It’s hard to daydream about your beloved characters when the world is in chaos.
So, in the middle of April I put on my Book Coach hat and I picked up the phone. I talked to dozens of struggling writers about their projects with my only aim to jumpstart their writing lives. We chatted about their characters like they were old friends. We brainstormed new ways to build author platforms. I asked them why they were compelled to write the story they were writing. We dreamed about what they wanted their writing life to look like a year from now. And I listened. The energy shift in these writers was worth every minute I spent with them.
This hasn’t been the year that any of us planned. If you’ve experienced loss in 2020, I’m so sorry for what you’ve gone through. Take the time you need to recognize what you’ve lost. Grieve. Notice how it’s changed you and how it may have changed your reasons for writing. Take note of how it’s affected your goals for the year.
When you’re ready to take charge of your writing life and go after your goals, I invite you to hit the reset button. September can be a fresh start. It’s a time of new routines and new beginnings. Take the time to reconnect with what called you to start your writing in the first place. What was the first spark of an idea that made you want to spend a year or more of your life writing a book? Grab hold of that spark and nurture it. Let it grow, weaving its way through your writing life.
In a world full of uncertainty, it can feel like a luxury to nurture your creative life. But it’s the only way you’ll get your writing life to where you want it to be in a year. And you can do it. You just need a plan.
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there…
There’s no time like the present to start planning for the writing life you want, so grab a pen or open your device and make a list of what needs to happen for you to reach your one-year goal.
- Is there a writing skill you want to sharpen?
- Do you need feedback on your pages?
- Is it time to step back from what you’ve written and see how it all hangs together?
- Is it as simple as carving time out of your week to write until you type THE END?
Next, look at the list you’ve made and come up with two things you can start this week to move you forward. Keep these first goals small and specific. Tell someone your plan; a family member, a critique partner, post it on social media… Hold yourself accountable. Climb back onto your writing path.
Make September your fresh writing start, even if you’re not sure what’s coming next. If you don’t start working on your book, I can guarantee you that it won’t get written. It’s okay to invest in yourself and to take care of your writing life. Planning and writing a book always takes more time than you think. Block time to write, but also to learn, to reflect and to connect. The world needs your writing voice in times of change more than ever. Hitting the reset button this September might be just what you need to get that story that’s exploding in your brain onto the page, once and for all.
Suzy Vadori is a Book Coach and award-winning author. She LOVES helping writers get their stories out of their heads and onto the page. Contact her at www.suzyvadori.wordpress.com.
Listen to Suzy Vadori's podcast episode here.