When Your Brain’s Too Busy To Write, What the Heck Can You Do?
Do you have those days/weeks too?
Where you’re fleeing around on your hamster wheel and wondering if you’ll ever get a chance to focus on your writing?
Me too! I’ve had an extra busy few weeks – it seems like everyone is using COVID-19 lockdown time to write – and while this makes me super happy, my own writing projects have taken a back seat.
And my mind monkeys have been having a field day.
- How come you haven’t prioritised your own work?
- Why haven’t you even mustered up 500 words of your new book yet?
- Why can’t you find any quiet space/me time to just calm everything down?
And it gets so noisy in my brain! You too?
Well, I’ve come up with some solutions. Feel free to use them too.
#1 Get Real
How productive have you REALLY been lately?
I’ve checked through my work diary for the last two to three weeks, and quite honestly, I have been busy. I’ve been proofreading, book formatting, written critique reports for unpublished manuscripts, created blurbs, published three of my clients’ books over the last fortnight and am working on another three right now.
We’re all very quick to beat ourselves up about not writing, but if you can hand on heart say you’ve been exceptionally busy lately – and you’re not procrastinating – then give yourself a pat on the back. Just make sure you find time to write this week.
New rule: schedule a 5-minute Friday afternoon ‘reflection’ slot to give yourself a reality check. How productive has your week really been? If it’s been all work and no writing/play, then try to switch your priorities this coming week. Talking of which …
#2 Get Organised
How can you make time to write every day?
My brain fires and sparks on all its cylinders first thing on a morning, so rather than faff about fire-fighting, checking every ping my phone makes or my PC, and winging it until lunchtime, I know I need to get more organised. If I start my day writing the 500 words I need to do to meet my target deadline, then I’ll make progress. If I tell myself, ‘Oh I’ll just get that proofreading job finished before I focus on my writing’ then I won’t get it done. So this is my new rule. 500 words before my work-work stuff starts.
New rule: Write 500 words before doing anything else. No excuses. No phone calls. No just checking Facebook. 500 words. Pop it into your diary if you need to.
#3 Get Quiet
How can you quieten your mind to allow the creative juices to flow?
There are quite a few ways I do this. You may or may not know that I like a bit of woo-woo now and again. So I’m not averse to downing tools and looking for a 5 minute meditation on YouTube to calm things down when they’re all going batty. I also like to do a little tapping (EFT) with Brad Yates or David Childerley every day and this is a great way to get me grounded and stop all the skittering thoughts in my busy brain that hamper my productivity.
I also like to do some journaling too, and that’s a good way to get the creative juices flowing. Have you tried it?
Deep breathing is another good habit I’ve picked up which soothes my busy brain cells. I have a Fitbit Charge with a special button on it which guides me through two-minutes of deep breathing, and it makes a huge difference if I feel like the hamster wheel is going too quickly.
Obviously, having a dog helps too. I have to take him out for regular walks, and the vitamin-D binge, the fresh air, and getting away from screens for half an hour always seems to encourage a steady drip of creative juice. (Which is why I always have to stop and record notes onto my phone – you too? Thank goodness for tech!)
New rule: instead of racing through your day, schedule some quiet time/me time/self-care time in to think about the bigger picture. If you’re anything like me, you’ll always have a growing to-do list and if you put off writing until everything’s done, you’ll never get any writing project finished. A steady, focused quiet mind is a much more creative and productive mind.
Ah, I feel better already, don’t you? So the next time your brain’s too busy to write, you know what to do.
If you struggle to prioritise your writing and can never seem to find the time to write, you’ll find heaps of tips in my book too:
Finding Time to Write: How to Write More in Less Time, Embrace Your Creativity and Grab Every Opportunity to Write (Books for Brand New Authors Book 1) Kindle Edition.
If you have other ways of shushing all that busy-ness out of your brain so you can focus on your writing, I’d love to hear them!