From time to time, you should take stock of your life for situations that no longer serve you or your writing, then let them go. Even activities you once loved. Doing so will help your creative process overall.
Recently, I shared how I’ve given up the last of my regular guest posts on huge writing blogs. The decision was not done lightly, but was necessary to gain more time personally and professionally. That thought process has made me reevaluate my whole world. You should do the same, because…
Less is more for your writing process. As in, more time, energy and happiness.
Who doesn’t want more of that?
1. Less Wasted Time = More Writing Time
This one should be obvious, but I’d stretched myself too thin once again. I was serving on three nonprofit boards (one is plenty), I was a regular guest-poster at too many other blogs, my list went on and on. Cutting back was tough because I enjoyed them all, especially guest blogging. Connecting with other writers is the best!
But, even the guest posts took too much time away from my novels — publishing Pennies from Burger Heaven in January 2016 and finishing its sequel. They were priority #1 in my writing life. Something had to give.
You can’t always let go of other responsibilities. If you’re an entrepreneur working 60 hours each week, you can’t ditch that to write full-time. However, when you go home and play Minecraft for hours to unwind, you could be working on your story instead.
See the difference? No, it’s still not as much time as you’d like for the page, but some is better than none. Think small steps.
Even when you cannot let go of challenging situations: raising a special needs child, a terminal family illness, mountains of debt, you can let them stop defining you. The mental shift makes a tremendous impact.
However, most of us just procrastinate: too much TV, social media, or reading books in your genre in the name of research.
To Do: Look at where you’re procrastinating, then ditch one time-sucking activity.
2. Less Clutter = More Energy for Your Stories
I don’t tend to do spring cleaning. My soul seems to crave clearing away junk in the fall.
Last fall, I opened my bathroom drawer on a Saturday morning to pull out the toothpaste. Before I brushed my teeth, I opened all three drawers and the cabinet beneath the sink, then took out everything. My husband still sat in bed drinking coffee and gave a wounded cry because he knew what I was doing.
I ignored him and plopped myself on the floor. After wiping each drawer clean, I put back what I wanted to keep, made a pile of his things to see what he still wanted, then threw away the rest.
It felt amazing. This is totally woo-woo and I don’t understand it, but when you free up your outer space, it gives you more inner space.
That helps your writing.
I wish I could ship my family away for a week to tackle our entire house on a more regular basis, but we live in this little place called Reality, so that’ll never happen.
I’ll do the best I can with five minutes here and 10 minutes there. Not even every day, just when the spirit moves me.
WARNING: Do not turn this process into yet another way to avoid writing.
To Do: Give away one thing you no longer want, need or use.
3. Less Stinkin’ Thinkin’ = More Creative Energy
I’d fallen back into old, destructive thought patterns. I’m talking way beyond fiction, I mean real life here. The wheels of my mind spin when I’m alone: waking up anxious in the middle of the night, while washing the dishes or driving my car. One more time, I was trying to control the uncontrollable.
* Does she not see how her alcoholism is destroying her?
* He’s making a terrible mistake by marrying her.
* The executive director on my new board may be evil. I should confront her at the next meeting and save the organization.
News flash! You cannot change other people and the mental energy wasted does nothing but drain you. Focus on what you can change. The next time you’re thinking a negative thought, flip it over into a more positive one.
My happiness began returning by doing this simple trick. Better yet, I started spending that time thinking about my plot and characters, so my next writing session is more productive.
To Do: Try to let go of an obsessive thought hurting you.
Good luck to you on your creative journey.