The Writer’s Box

© 2012 by Heather Palmer

Writing is hard.

Whoever thought writing is easy has never written. Writing is such a solitary venture and a personal journey sometimes I find myself lost as I sit alone again behind my desk creating the characters and worlds living inside my heart. I often wonder if this is true for other writers. Will I ever find the equilibrium between writing and family? Am I alone on this zigzag trek to publication and beyond?

I am not.

Though at times, I feel this way, as I imagine a lot of writers do. People ask me, how do you do it? How do you sit down with all that you have to do and write? There is no easy answer to this question, as I, like you have the same twenty-four hours, the same housework and grocery shopping to accomplish and family who rely on me.

My answer…

By knowing the hard work will pay off. By loving what I do (and I admit, I don’t always love writing) and building boundaries to protect my passion. I have on days and off days like everyone else. I delete more than I write on my off days. Some days I don’t even make it to the keyboard. These days happen, but you have to persist. No war is won in a day and each day is a battle so keep fighting and know you are not alone.

I sat talking with my husband the other day on this very topic and I said to him, “My writing is this box and in order for me to protect it, I have to fight every day. If I let you or anything else inside this box, I won’t do what I need to do for me or my writing.”

Treat your writing like a box.

Make boundaries for the time that you need to create and live within those boundaries for the time that you can each day. Every writer has to make their own set of rules to protect that box, so make your own and protect the time you can carve out of your day. You will write. And the more you write the closer you are to achieving your goals.

I like to set aside at least an hour for my writing. I write when I’m tired. I write when I’m sick. I write and I write and I write. But when I am in my box, I know that when I leave the box and return to all the distractions daily life is filled with, I will feel accomplished. There is nothing better than this sense of achievement.

Reward your hard work.

When you’re ready to emerge from your box (or maybe you’re being drug from your box by your hair), back into reality, give yourself the credit you deserve. You have won. Tomorrow will be another challenge, but for now have a glass of wine or the chocolate bar you were thinking about before you sat down at the computer. Open the door of your office and let the world inside, because in order to write—you must also experience life.

They say it takes twenty-one days to make a good habit, but don’t give up. Know you are not alone and know that others out there struggle with the same battle you do. The balance between life and writing is not easy to master. The weight you carry will shift from one side of the seesaw to the other and re-adjustments will be required.

But, I promise you, persistence WILL pay off. So, keep writing and build your box!

Until the next bite…Heather

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