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Writing After a Bad Day

How many times has this happened to you? You have had a day. Work was crazy, maybe a co-worker threw you under the bus, your child’s teacher contacted you because said child was naughty, then you got a bill in the mail you were not expecting this month? Anyone? Just me? Well, even if you haven’t had this kind of day, I am sure you can imagine how difficult it is to sit down and write your words after the crazy of the day has quieted or hasn’t.

I have had more than a few of these days. Recently, I have been able to schedule my writing time in the mornings after I exercise and have had coffee. Usually, before the world can force its way in to slap me. Not today though. I watch the news every morning, but this morning for some reason it just rubbed me the wrong way. I walked away angry at, well, everything. This is August 2021, need I say more?

Well, now after getting myself all worked up about my world I had to sit down and write. Sigh. I write romance, so at the end of the day, I need to show my readers hope. That’s right ladies and gentlemen I sell hope. It was a commodity this morning I didn’t have a full well of. Maybe my writing day was just not meant to be… Wrong! I ended my writing session with 1888 words.

heart cut out in front of a view of an angry ocean
Keeping your sights on what's important in the storm

Here are 5 things you can do to bring yourself back to a mindset that allows you to sit down and get the words down and feel damned good about it! Also check out my blogs How to create a sacred place and how to protect your sacred spaces for help to create the environment that will trigger your brain to switch gears and write.

1. Create a buffer between your real life and your writing life:

This doesn’t have to be an hour or more, I mean we are all busy people who has an hour to dedicate to transition? It could be five, ten or twenty minutes depending on your preference. Steep a cup of tea while you put the kiddos to bed, or clean up the kitchen, then take your tea and sit in your sacred space. Light a candle with a scent that will trigger your mind it’s time to write and just absorb the calm you created in your place. Take a piece of paper or you could start a gratitude journal and write down three things you were grateful for today. It could be that there was a cup of coffee left in the office coffee maker when you went on break, or that you hit all the green lights on the way home. Your brain doesn’t see gratitude on a scale. No matter how grand the gesture or how small to your brain it is all equal.

2. Take time to consider your current work in progress:

Once you have released your gratitude which will cause dopamine to flood your system, you will be more receptive to the positive. Now, take a piece of paper and write down something you are enjoying about your current work in progress. There must be something. Yes, I realize there is a point in every book’s life cycle that the author hates everything about it but take a moment and find something. Now, write down your intention for this writing session. You may be editing and not writing and that is fine too. What is it that you intend to accomplish in the time you have allotted yourself? Writ it down. A post-it-note is great for this.

3. Assess your mood:

At this point do a mindfulness assessment of yourself. Are you calmer than you were when you sat down? If you are ready, then jump in and get those words on the page. If you are still feeling your shoulders tensing, or your head is still throbbing because your mind is whirring with all the things, then get ready for number 4.

4. Check your breathing:

One sure way to settle your body and your mind is to go inside yourself and become away of your body. Close your eyes and do 4 rounds of four-square breathing. That is

woman in child pose lifted on a pillow with yoga block
Check your breathing and mindset

when you take in a breath to the count of four, hold it for the count of four, let out your breath for a count of four, and hold it for a count of four, then inhale again for a count of four. And while you do that repeat this or come up with your own. “All though it has been a hectic day, I will be kind to my creative self and allow it to play.” Just keep repeating that while you work on controlling your breathing.

5. Leave perfection at door:

Our writing journey can be demanding enough without expecting that every time you sit down to write you make perfection. There are going to be days that your fingers are lightening and every word shines. There are going to be other days that you get the skeleton of the scene down with a few bits of dialogue with the intent to flesh it out later, but at least you produced words and moved your story forward. This last one, really

woman with paint swirls over her head smiling
Give your creativity a safe place daily

should be the first one for every single writing session ever, but if it made the list, I’m happy. Some days it is more about calming your mind and giving it a safe place to stretch its legs and play than it is to write the perfect piece of dialogue. You have many, many editing rounds to tweak that and make it perfect down the line. Today, just let your creativity blossom and know that just having this bit of calm is more than many people allow themselves.

I hope this list gives you a starting point to erase the day and be able to sit down and have a productive creative time, because the more we beat our creativity down, the harder it is next time to get it flow. Be brutal when it comes to protecting your creative self. You are the only who will.

Do you have tricks for getting into a writing mood when you’ve had a rough day? Please share!

And check out my website for programs that target these concerns of writers at all levels.

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