“Write every day” is advice that gets banded about a lot in the writing community, usually with several rebuttals because it’s ableist AF. It doesn’t take into account people with physical and/or mental illness. If you’re low on energy or in mood, then the last thing you want to hear is that writers write.
Fuck that noise.
I have depression. There are days I don’t want to get out of bed, never mind put fingers to the keyboard. Add to that the fact I’m travelling to the hospital almost daily and you’ll quickly see why writing doesn’t happen most days. However, since I’ve started bullet journaling, I’ve developed a couple of ways to combat low spoon days. As ever with writing advice, your mileage may vary.
I don’t go to hospital on Sundays unless I can get a lift because the bus services are extra dire. So that’s one whole day I have to myself. Otoh, on Fridays I do a food shop and then go to START; both of which are high-energy exercises. Writing is not going to happen on Fridays.
By blocking out where I am and when, I can see where I have a few spare moments to get some words written.
If x, Then y
Closely related to forward planning is making deals with yourself for both worst case and best case scenarios.
If I’m not going to hospital until after 2pm, then I can write 200-300 words
If I am having a busy/low spoon day, then I can look at my diary and plan the next time I think that I’ll manage writing.
By setting myself goals for non-writing days, I have something to do and am less likely to get sucked into the guilt of not writing.
I’m a pantser. Yet I usually know where a scene is heading, whether that’s just a couple of scenes or the whole next chapter. In the past I’ve mentally sat on these ideas, forgetting at least half, if not more.
Lately I’ve started making notes within the manuscript. I put my inner editor in a box and quickly type out rough sentences describing what’s going to happen next. I often shorten the characters to their first initial so I have “A does this. B does that. They argue. Something blows up.”
Okay, they’re slightly more detailed, but not much. The idea is that when I next get chance to write, I know where I was aiming at going next.
So these are the 3 techniques I’m using to future-proof my writing time. They may or may not work for you. Or they might work some of the time but not at others – heck, I’ve had this. Some days you’re winning as long as you’re still breathing, right?
Seriously, though, there is no harm in not writing for one day. Or one week. If you need time, then take time. You don’t get cookies for burning yourself out.
Look after yourself first, and everything else will follow.
~ x ~