April 18, 2021 | By: Gloria Muñoz
If you have any kind of creative practice that you’re not yet able to pursue as your full-time career, how do you balance your art with all other aspects of your life? I don’t want to shock you, reader, but poems and book royalties don’t pay the bills, at least not yet. Writing takes time and requires practice and planning. I’m going to share what works for me, but please know that there is not a one-fits-all approach to maintaining a writing practice.
The truth is, I write all the time, but as a mom and a teacher, I’m not always able to sit at my laptop whenever inspiration strikes. So I do a lot of writing off the page. I think through scenes while walking, work on poems while driving, and think about backstory between classes. I sometimes have my phone where I can open my Scrivener app and add a few notes. Sometimes I jot something down in a notebook and other times I use the recorder on my phone and talk through any questions or ideas I have. At the end of the day, I finally sit down to write.
While some writers sit down to meet a word count every day. I write off the page everyday and sit down to work on a project for an uninterrupted couple of hours at least three days a week. I keep this schedule somewhat flexible because life happens, but I do try to prioritize my time for writing in the morning or the evening a few days a week.
What to do when you feel stuck:
-When I’m not feeling like writing at all. I set a twenty-minute timer and writer for the entire time. I make sure to put my phone and any other distractions away.
-Take a walk. Go outside! Do something physical that uses your body and brain in another way. Sometimes I’ll take a line of a poem for a walk and try to figure it out.
-Co-write. Call a friend and write on Zoom or meet outside and write together. Accountability is incredibly helpful for me.
-Read. When I am totally stuck, I realize that I need to step away from my writing and I pick up a book.