If you’re a professional writer or long to be one, you’re going to have times when your an emotional wreck and you’ll have to write anyway. I’m talking about those times when your love life or your job or your living arrangements fall apart. Or it might be the death of a good friend, your parents, your sibling or your cat. All kinds of life experience can create a swarm of emotions that are great excuses not to write.
Sure you can often slip a deadline by a day or two, but not always. It’s better for your writing career and I think better for you too if you find a way to get the words down to meet the deadline — self imposed or agreed to.
This morning I found Brianna Wiest’s The Emotional Healing Process That Will Actually Make You Feel Better. I worked through her process and I do feel better. I feel better even though I haven’t come to a total resolution on this particularly painful issue.
I’ve often found that writing honestly about my feelings clears my head enough to get some writing for publication done. Wiest’s process is a writing process and it’s a good one. You could do worse than try it yourself.
The other thing I noticed is that although in this case I wanted to go to bed and eat cookies while tears dripped down my cheeks and I pounded the pillow in righteous anger — yes, extreme sadness and something close to rage — I didn’t. I will have to express those emotions sometime and I will; this morning wasn’t the time. I’ve been writing for years, so some of my habit are baked in. This is one — I rarely miss a deadline even one like this which is self-chosen.
The story I tell is that early in my career I didn’t know magazine editors would let me be late. I thought if I missed a deadline even by a day they would refuse to publish my work no matter how good it was. When I became an editor I found many writers assumed it was okay to slip a deadline. Since I’d already taught myself to make them I decided to keep that skill.
Making deadlines is a learnable skill. You decide you’ll make it and then you do, over and over again until it becomes second nature.
Those times when you think you’re too upset to write and you write anyway may not be your best writing. It’s hard to tell. You will, however, feel better about yourself if you get your writing done in spite of it all. Feeling better about yourself is half the battle, maybe even three-quarters.
Write well and often,