Words of encouragement—you can write.
Many of you are stay at home parents, and you homeschool your kids (or you’ve been thinking about it). Many of you deal with chronic illness, or special needs children, or both. Most days, you’re lucky if you get a shower. When you have to leave the house, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be exhausted by the time you get home. How on earth are you supposed to write? “All the experts” say write for at least 30 minutes a day, preferably two hours or more. That’s all well and good for most people, but you? Ha!
Before you give up, and it’s tempting, I know, please let me tell you this true story. Only the names have been changed.
A friend of mine—let’s call her Tess—wanted to be a writer since she was a girl. She wrote a little here and there, and she enjoyed most of the writing assignments in school. Then she grew up and got married, and she put her writing in a drawer, both literally and figuratively. She had been taught that her husband and children had to come first, and that her needs (only people called them “desires”) weren’t important. The words of encouragement she received were about being a good wife and mother, not so much about following her dream or using her talents. So she swallowed the urge to write and she loved on her family, doing everything for them that she could. Sometimes she would notice the drawer, but she rarely gave it more than a glance.
Over time, her body started hurting and it was more than just the normal aches and pains of life. She was tired more often, and it took longer to bounce back. Eventually she went to the doctor and found out that she had three chronic illnesses, one of which would eventually kill her.
Tess kept doing all she could for her family, but she couldn’t do as much anymore. Her children were a little older at this point, so they could take over some of the household chores and the cooking. Tess still wanted, needed, ached to write, but she still didn’t do it. If she cried herself to sleep some nights, she didn’t tell her husband or her kids, but she told me. Her email made me cry. She had a strong need to write, and even she didn’t realize just how important it was to get that need met. Oh, the pain that holding it in caused her!
Online writing courses
I gave her a copy of my ebook Writer Program: The Nitty Gritty, and a copy of the self-paced lessons I created to go with it. It’s a self-contained online writing course that can be adapted to fit the person’s life. She struggled with finding the time to write. She didn’t do one lesson a week, because she had so many other things to do. She thought that fact meant that she was a failure, destined not to be a writer. But she is a writer.
She’s written dazzling things, touching things. She has a way of making her readers feel like she’s talking right to them, and them alone. She feels like a friend in no time, through her writing alone. But in her mind, she’s “not really a writer.” She said she doesn’t have enough time, or the energy, and some days, she doesn’t have the brain power—she just can’t be a writer. She needed words of encouragement.
So I took her gently by the shoulders (gently—I have fibromyalgia and I know how much touch can hurt) and said softly, “It’s okay. You can still write, and you ARE a writer. Here’s how I’m going to help, if you want it.” That time, we both cried.
(Note to some of my friends: if you’re recognizing yourself here and think that I’m talking about YOU, you can relax. I’m actually talking about several of you! Yes, this story applies to several of you, regarding every item that is mentioned. I’d bet that others reading this nodded their heads as they read the story. This scenario is more common than we might think! Apparently my typical reader is a female who homeschools special-needs children and suffers from chronic illness/pain, and has an aching desire to write.)
Words of encouragement
So, Loyal Reader, imagine me taking you gently by the shoulders and saying the same thing to you, especially when you get discouraged, and you will get discouraged. You can still write. You are a writer.
How? You have a home to manage, and children, and maybe a spouse, and possibly some money-making ventures… You’re tired, and you may even be hurting physically. Brain fog sets in…how are you supposed to write anything?! That’s what this whole blog is about: how you can write, with all the other things you have on your plate. How to find the motivation and the energy, carve out little bits of time and space, come up with ideas, how to shape up the mess you see on your screen (or in your notebook), how to find a place for your writing in the world.
Just a few ideas for coping:
- Write when your brain is working best.
- Write even if it’s only for a few minutes.
- Jot down ideas while you stand in line at the bank, store, or fast-food joint.
- Carry a digital recorder and talk into it, even if it’s just one sentence.
- Stop beating yourself up! You are a blessing to others, and you should bless yourself, too.
- Buy or make a set of writing prompt cards.
- Get up earlier than everyone else, or stay up later than everyone else. This does not have to be HOURS earlier/later, though it will be tempting at times! It can be just 10 or 15 minutes a day. Yes, really! I know it will be tempting to get up or stay up much later than your family members because it tempts me. I must admit that last night I stayed up until 5am, because I was on a roll and it was finally quiet and I could work. I got a lot done (over 5,000 words). Staying up too late can mean paying for it for days afterward. You know your body better than anyone else does. Only you know what you can do. Just remember that even a few minutes is progress.
Takeaway: Everyone needs words of encouragement from time to time (some of us more than others). Come here and perk yourself up whenever you need to, and encourage someone else today.
As always, please share your helpful thoughts and ideas in the comments. (We Creatives have enough negative thoughts, we don’t need any more.) Thank you!