There are writing advice blogs everywhere. Most will tell you that the best way to develop your skill is consistent practice. And I’m sure they’re right. I look forward to specific days because I know something is coming from someone I follow (ex. @blotsandplots posts on Monday, @ShesNovel emails her newsletter on Sunday).

It works. Having more books is proven time and again to gain you more followers.

But what if you can’t?

For me, I drown in guilt for not writing, even though I also feel guilt when writing because I should be doing something else. I make excuses about being busy, and tired, and needing to mentally recharge … But my inner voice says that it’s all just excuses: I should be writing.

It’s true, but being busy, tired and drained is also true, and sometimes I want to enjoy a hike without feeling like I should be home writing.

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What’s a writer to do? Ultimately, it really is up to each individual. Everything is. But, what’s best? Isn’t that the point?

1. Write what you can

It’s best to write often, even a little, because it will get easier. But stressing over not writing will only hinder your actual writing time, if you’re anything like me because there will be more pressure to make up for that lost time.

2. Have a place to keep your stuff

Not everyone has a sizeable desk to spread out on, or anywhere quiet in their home to write. Make the most of what you do have, by finding the spot with the least resistance to getting started.

For me that has been leaving my notebooks and stuff out on the dining table. I walk by all the time, when I’m home, so it’s a visual reminder as well as being ready to go when I do have time to sit.

If at home writing isn’t your thing, finding a portable solution might be. A backpack or laptop case that keeps everything together, so that you can just grab it and go.

3. Be prepared

I find that I can’t just sit and write, and my jobs lately don’t allow me the freedom of daydreaming. As a result, I loose track of where I am between writing sessions. To get back in the mind set, I look a my inspiration pictures for the scene I’m writing: character, setting, colors. I might try music to set the mood, but not often. I most often write without music,  but if there’s tv or talking noise nearby, I’ll need something to drown it out. Then, I read a little of where I ended and hopefully jump in.

If all that fails, maybe there’s something else at work. Are you too tired to focus? Is something in this scene not working? When I get to this point, I step away to figure out why I’m having trouble.

Sometimes it’s because I’m thinking of other things, and journaling will help. If it’s because I can’t settle myself after work, I try coloring to relax and focus. Whatever the problem, my point is to adress that rather than waste time trying to write if you know the words just aren’t happening.