No Excuses

My days are so busy, I really wish I could take a week off work just to concentrate on my novel. However, since I can’t afford to do that, I’m doing my very best to write every day for at least a couple of hours. Even if all I get done is planning, that’s still forward movement.

I have also been struggling with some major health problems in the last year. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and serious anemia, which makes it very difficult for me to have the clear thinking and energy to do the things I need and want to do. My body is always wanting to just lie down from the moment I wake up until I give in to it’s demands. Until the medications I’m taking are doing their job, I’m doing my best to fight it with coffee, exercise (when I can), and self-talk. Some days that works. Some days it doesn’t. It’s a struggle every day just to get out of bed. Tomorrow, I’ll be calling the doctor to see about adjusting the dosage again because it’s no longer giving me the boost my body needs. I try not to get frustrated. I try to focus on the things that are going right. Some days that is easier than others.

What does that have to do with writing? Everything.

The only way I’m getting work done on my novel is through sheer force of will. I love the story and I love telling it. But it’s so difficult to get my momentum going when I’m working a full time job plus running a part time business out of my home in addition to finding time to write. In order to finish, I have made myself a schedule and I’m doing my very best to stick to it, even if I only get three pages written at a time. Any forward movement is still moving forward. Focusing on the positive.

If I hadn’t planned the chapters in advance, I would never be as far as I am. That is key for me. Planning.

Some people just write and don’t plan a story in advance, but I can’t do that. On the days when my thinking is clearest, that’s my best time for working on plot points and thinking my way to the end. That way I have a goal to shoot for as I’m writing. Half my work is done if I work that way. My novel is a mystery, and so it has to be carefully planned or the suspense is lost.

People ask me “how do you find time to write?”

I don’t. I make time. I don’t have the leisure or energy to wait till it’s convenient. I have to make it a habit. If I wait till I “find time,” it’ll never happen. It’s too easy for me to just say “I’m tired. I’ll write tomorrow.” That’s not going to get it done. If it’s not part of my daily routine, it isn’t going to ever see completion.

It would be easy for me to use my health as an excuse not to finish. I don’t want to live with regret. I have too many stories to tell. This is just the beginning of what I hope will be a long list of books I’ll write. So I’ll keep fighting my body.  I’ll keep trying to get healthy. And I’ll keep doing everything I can to stay on task. No excuses.

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