You want to write but you also have so much else to do...When you're doing other things you feel guilty about not writing, when you are writing, you feel guilty about not doing the other things.
Congratulations, like our friend Leroy, below, you've discovered the perfect method of maximizing your stress!
It doesn't have to be that way. Below Leroy you'll find the seven keys to writing without stress.
1.Be realistic but don't default to sacrificing your writing.
There are certain times of year and certain circumstances that will demand more of your time than usual. Rather than letting this throw you totally off track, be realistic about what you can do. Of course if there are other things you can sacrifice rather than writing time, so much the better. Do an inventory rather than automatically assuming it's the writing that has to go.
2: Treat your writing sessions the way you treat doctor's appointments.
You don't miss those, do you? That's because you and the people around you take them seriously. You need to train the people in your life to respect your writing periods. The way to start is to respect these yourself.
3. Be prepared.
Spend the last five minutes of each session getting ready for the next one.
This prevents you from starting a session with having to look for files or trying to remember where you left off. Write yourself a note about what's next, if necessary.
You can do the same thing if you are leaving something else unfinished in order to write. Jot down what still needs to be done and put it where you'll see it when you finish your writing session. That frees you from having to think about it.
4. Take a two-minute break before you start your writing session.
Sit, breathe deeply, fill your mind with a pleasant image (for instance, your favorite vacation spot). Determine which part of your body is most relaxed and imagine that feeling of relaxation flowing from that spot through your entire body. This will clear you mind of any worries
5. Allow no interruptions.
You know the drill: phone on silent answer, door locked if possible, ear plugs and noise-reducing headphones if necessary. You can go to a coffee shop or somewhere away from the family drama, but why not train your kids to respect your time? (I say that with the confidence of a person who has not had children, we have excellent theories about how it should be done.)
6. Keep moving forward.
If you need to do a quick scan of what you wrote in the previous session, fine, but don't spend half your new session going over what you've already written. It's easy to bog down in making minor corrections rather than forging ahead. You can and will fix things in the next draft or the ones after that.
7. Write on faith.
Your Inner Critic loves to take advantage of stressful times to undermine your confidence. Make a deal with yourself that you will not question what you're writing, or the fact that you are writing, until after the period of stress is over. Pick a date. If and when your Inner Critic rears its ugly head before then, remind it to come back on that date if it must. By then you will feel calmer, your life will be back to a more normal routine and you'll be less susceptible to attacks of doubt.
These tips were written with the holiday season in mind but they're useful all throughout the year.
(You'll find additonal tips on how to make best of your time in my book, "Focus: use the power of targeted thinking to get more done." You can get it from Amazon or your other favorite book seller.)