Raise your hand if you’ve noticed that 2020 has been a bit much. In spite of that, I feel like I’ve gotten a fair amount of writing done.
- Early in the pandemic I wrote and rewrote The Impeachment of Donald Trump and Coronavirus: The COVID-19 Pandemic.
- I’ve also written two new picture books, Baby Browz and Four Freddies. Baby Browz is ready to submit. Four Freddies probably needs another draft or two.
- I’m revamping a nonfiction picture book series into Wild Cities, a middle grade nonfiction title.
- I’ve also drafted a poem, a piece of flash fiction and 4693 blog posts. Okay, I don’t know how many blog posts but it feels like a lot.
It may seem like I’m bragging but I’m just trying to illustrate a point – I’m prolific. And writing requires a lot of energy. It’s easy to forget that because we aren’t physically lifting heavy loads. Instead we do it intellectually and emotionally. It is important to take time to regroup.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not brilliant at this. Often I don’t bother until I’m crabby, exhausted and blue. Don’t be me. Be smarter. Here are 5 tips to help you out.
- Take breaks throughout the day. When you freelance, it is easy to be on the job all day long. For example, I’m writing this at almost 11 pm. Don’t do that. Get up from your desk for five minutes every half hour. Weed the garden. Stretch. Get the laundry from your basement laundry room.
- Schedule your day. When you start your work day, start with what has to get done. Your blog post for tomorrow. The new chapter intro your editor wants this afternoon. Then plan when to end your work day. Once that time arrives, do something other than work.
- Screen free time. If you work on-screen, you need to spend time off-screen. That includes your phone. Sundays used to be my screen free day. Now it is Saturday.
- Have another creative outlet. I’m not sure why doing non-writing creative work recharges me, but it does. I’ve been knitting. I crochet. I bead and weave. Maybe your creative thing is cooking. Or decorating. Or gardening.
- Schedule fun. That may seem difficult to do right now but go someplace fun. You get extra points if it is someplace in nature. Put these things on the calendar so you don’t ignore them.
Writing is difficult enough. Give yourself what you need to have the energy to write.