Just do (aka write) it!

When I was a teen, I had a habit of using the words “I’ll try” often. In my teenage mind, saying this was non-committal and got me out of stuff.

Mom: “Krista, clean your room.”

Krista: “Okay, I’ll try to get it done tonight.”

If I didn’t… oh, well. I tried. Just got busy and wasn’t able to finish. Shucks….

I remember at one point, my to-be-husband and I were talking about something (I don’t recall what now) and I responded with the reply, “Well, I guess I’ll try.”

It is his response that I DO remember.

“Don’t try, Krista. Just do it.”

I then realized how much my “I’ll try” excuse was just that. A big honkin’ excuse for mediocrity. A way to not feel so bad when I didn’t succeed. Because at least I tried, right?

Now don’t get me wrong. Trying is a GOOD THING. Too many people drag their feet and never TRY something because they fear failure or are just too dadgum lazy.

But that wasn’t me. My trying was only an excuse.

I’ve realized lately that “trying” has crept into my writing. “I’ll try to get some writing time in…” and then time just floats away like a helium balloon you give your kid outside and expect them to actually NOT let go of. At the end of the day, little writing done, I will look back and say, “Whoops. Well, I tried. I’ll try again tomorrow.”

At some point, if we’re going to be serious writers, we have to do more than just try. We have to glue ourselves to the chair, duct tape our wrists to the keyboard, and just WRITE.

If you were running a business (which if you are a writer, YOU ARE!) would you tell your customer, “Well, I tried to _________ but just got busy. Maybe tomorrow…?”

There will always be distractions. Other things to do. Kids to take care of. And sometimes those things DO take priority.

My youngest of four daughters has spent almost the last year in the hospital, and after several failed open heart surgeries and three very long months of waiting, she received a heart transplant in April. She’s been in the hospital 4 times again since May after her first 10 month hospital stay. Um, priority? YES. I wrote VERY little this past year.

But even as crazy as my life is now with meds 4 times a day, vitals to take, a Gtube to feed through, oxygen to manage, and a billion and one doctor’s visits, if I’m gonna be serious about this writing thing, I gotta stop just trying to write.

I have to just do it.

Because she’s home, and if I don’t get back to it now, I might as well quit. And quitting is NOT an option.

Tips for “Just doing it”

Enlist the help of your family. That’s what I have done. When my hubby is home, he will take over for an hour or two so I can hunker down at the computer.

Take advantage of even the little times. A few weeks ago, between physical therapy and transplant clinic appointments, Annabelle and I parked ourselves in Panera near the hospital. She napped while Mommy wrote for an hour! I wrote maybe 500 words, but it was something. And that something counts!

Set a schedule. SO many people do this successfully. I’m not one of those thus far, but I’m working toward it! Having a set time to write not only makes you honor your writing commitment like a professional, but it also helps you to act the part of a time managing business professional too.

Set goals. Some have a daily word count goal. Others have a weekly goal, or maybe even a month goal. Still others just have a goal related to time, say, spending an hour a day. Or maybe you’re editing and it’s to edit a chapter a day. Whatever your pleasure, set a goal, high enough that you have to work at it, but not too high that it’s unattainable. (i.e. no 100 words a week… but no 100,000 words a week either!!)

How do you carve out your writing time? Any tips to making yourself “just do it” even when life could easily take over? What are some excuses YOU have made?

73 Replies to “Just do (aka write) it!”

  1. Awesome post, Krista! I struggle to make that writing time happen everyday, especially when I don’t have a deadline. Girl, you inspire me! I so get those little snatches of time where you just sit and do what you can. Had to do that when my daughter went through surgeries and treatments for a brain tumor. I’m praying for your precious and adorable little girl. πŸ™‚

      1. Thanks Dineen! Yes, those little pockets of time are PRECIOUS!! It’s funny, when we were in the hospital those 10 months, I wrote very little but had a BUNCH of time to just “sit” there and watch her, especially when she was not well and on the ventilator those first four months. But I had ZILCH inspiration and writing was so UNimportant to me at the time. I did blog though. A LOT. It made me feel like I was writing SOMETHING at least, and kept everyone informed at the same time!

  2. I’m very pleased to read about you ‘doing it’ … I too find little moments in which to write (or read my ‘writing magazine’) I go nowhere without my note pad or book. Time is valuable and needs to be used well, divided between those we love and what we love. At this precise moment I am trying to finish a painting for a deadline… and yes you caught me … I am on the internet checking my mail – back to the easle. Well done Krista!

    1. LOL! A great point, Jacque, that this “just do it” needs to filter into EVERy part of of our life too. I would have much MORE time if I wouldn’t procrastinate so much on other things too! (this I am queen of…. and call in prioritizing!) Have fun painting!!!!

  3. What an inspiration you are, Krista, to still make the time with all you have going on. I will remember this when I’m making excuses to myself! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks Rebecca:-) I DO have a lot going on, but gotta keep plugging away! It helped to have landed an uber wonderful agent this summer in the midst of things. I felt it was God’s way of prodding me back into my writing and telling me to stop making excuses and start making time!

  4. With all you have to manage, I’m so proud of you for working writing into the mix. And thank you for the reminder. I’ve been working “I’ll try” into my vocab way too often lately.

    1. It’s funny, I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and for the last couple weeks, every time I said, “I’ll try” about anything, I was like “SHOOT!” It’s amazing how much we say it and don’t even realize it!!!

  5. Krista if I ever thought I had an excuse not to write, you just blew THAT out of the water! Thanks a lot! πŸ™‚ Really. As I read your post and thought about your amazing little daughter I couldn’t help but think about the richness of what you will have to share as she grows. You will see the amazing hand of God over and over. Hope you’re keeping a journal!

    This is such a great post because it encourages us to be intentional about our writing while acknowledging that there will be seasons of our lives during which we put it down for other priorities: a season and a time for everything. Thank you for sharing such an amazing story and such loving encouragement. And for such a sweet little picture. She’s adorable!

    (Also, if you will forgive a bit of self-promotion, I have posted about intentional living several times, most recently this past Thursday with a post called “Just Do It”. If you’d like to visit just go to:
    http://www.esthersdestiny.blogspot.com and click on the label for intentional living.)

    I think your point about things subtly creeping in is such an important one. It seems like it happens so quietly that I don’t even notice the chaos in my life until I’m drowning in it. That’s a scary thing.

    Thanks for the tips. My favorite is the one about taking advantage of small amounts of time. It adds up quickly and I’m always amazed at how much gets done.

    I pray for God’s blessings on your daughter and your family. Thank you for taking time for us.

    1. I did better than a journal. I blogged. I felt God prodding me to do that early on, and am SO glad I did. I’ve had so many people come to me and tell me ways God has used Annabelle to touch their lives, and that’s truly been an amazing silver lining in all of this.

  6. Like Erica, “I’ll try” has become my mantra lately. And trying isn’t good enough. I just gotta do it!

    You, my friend, are my hero. Seriously, your journey is inspiring and so encouraging. Love you!

  7. Wednesdays, that’s my day for writing. Everyone now knows this and it’s as if I’m OUT at work. I won’t answer the phone between 9-5 and I avoid checking my emails between these times. I make sure ALL chores are done so there’s nothing niggling at the back of my mind. I prepare meals the day before so it’s just a matter of eating it as and when; my husband will come and get his as and when too. He knows it’s an important day and keeps out of my way!
    I do manage to do other book related things after work at other times in the week, but I need to have a clear day for serious writing, without distubances. Saying that, if someone does happen to pop in, I won’t turn them away as they are important too.

    1. Dee, what a fantastic idea! A whole day for writing… ohhh, I am SO jealous! my husband has taken the kids for a few hours a time to give me some zero interruption time (well, Minus Annabelle) but even going from 4 to 1 kiddo in the house helps tremendously! And turning off e-mail, that is a HUGE thing that helps me too!

  8. I can only imagine how hard it has been to see your sweet young daughter go through so many medical difficulties. But what an amazing source of encouragement and hope you can be through your writing! Thanks so much for the reminder that “I’ll try” simply won’t do when it comes to writing. Blessings!

      1. Praying for you and your sweet family, Krista. Finding time to write amidst all you’re going through is a testament to your devotion. Blessings to you.

  9. Several years ago I was presented with an opportunity to go back to school and get my early childhood education degree. I talked my best friend, who is in the same career field, to do it with me. “I’ll try one semester,” she said. Well, we graduated with high honors, so I guess we did more than try.

    Working full-time and writing in the evenings forces me to stick to a schedule so I can put out some words. Right now, I’m in and out of the hospital while my mom is recovering from heart surgery, but I take my netbook with me or make notes for the next scene. This past week I’ve had a gold mine of hospital research to include on my next novel.

    Terrific post, Krista. I admire your dedication to the craft while caring for your beautiful family.

    1. Ohhhh… Lisa that is one of those GOOD “I’ll try” moments… the one where you aren’t sure you’re going to do something or if it will work and you push fear back and say, “Okay, I’ll try…” And then yeah, you get your degree! WOOHOO!

      I’ve always worked full-time as well so I totally know the feeling about trying to fit writing into that schedule!

      I worked the whole time Annabelle was in the hospital (I am the sole provider in my family) and only a month before she came home, I was made to leave because of the time I’d had to take off with Annabelle (I was working reduced hours.) SO I TOTALLY get you about trying to eek time in after work!! I’m doing some contract work for them at home, so I’m trying (er, I mean I AM!) fitting in those hours in my schedule as well. Fun stuff!

  10. This is so true Krista – about using “trying” as an excuse. Something I’ve been prone to do the past couple months when it comes to working on my newest project. This was exactly the kick in the pants I needed! You are an inspiration, woman!

  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this encouraging, challenging post. I will never view little bits of time the same again. If you can do it with all you have on your plate, I can do it with the meager servings that I face daily. God bless you. God bless Annabelle.

    Cheryl Dale

  12. Wow! I struggle to balance family, my day job, and my writing, but this is a good reminder that in the grand scheme of things, my life is quite manageable. I wholeheartedly agree with the “there is no try” philosophy (Was it Yoda who said that?). I hope that your youngest continues to grow stronger!

    1. My husband always was a starwars fan… so it wouldn’t surprised me if that is where he got the sentiment! Funny thing, he says “I’ll try” all the time now. I now have great fun reminding him of his wonderful words of wisdom!

      And thank you! She gets a little better everyday, which we are SO SO SO thankful for!

  13. Krista, you’re an inspiration! Thanks for the great tips. One thing I’ve been doing recently is sharing my word count goals with an accountability partner. Really helps keep me in the chair adding words to the WIP.

  14. After reading your post, Krista, I realize I can no longer make any excuses. If you can do it with your medical schedule so can I. Thank you for the shot in the arm! Got to get writing and stop being social!

    1. LOL! A shot in the arm… that is TOO funny! I HATE NEEDLES! (however I did have to learn how to give Annabelle shots, as she was supposed to come home on them. Thankfully they discontinued that med right before we got home, but I’m a mean shotgiver now, I guess in more ways than one!)

  15. Very wise words, Krista! I don’t believe I have used that excuse per se, but I’ve THOUGHT it. Gotta do some writing now….30 minutes later I’m still not writing. I’ll do that in the next hour. Snort. Yeah 2 hours later I’m still doing anything else.

    I’ve had better success when I just force myself into the chair and get it over with. Because what I’m really dreading are those first 15 minutes. Get past those and I’m good to go. πŸ™‚

  16. Outstanding post! This was so good for me. I am a blogger/novice writer and I could hear myself say “I’ll try” as I read your post. I realized while reading it that I have not been faithful to what I feel the Lord has called me to do as a part of my life because I am letting excuses and laziness get in the way. I needed a good kick in the pants. Thanks!

    Praying for you and your family may the Lord lay His hand on all of you as you walk this road.

    1. Karla, thank you for the prayers! We really appreciate it!!! And that is a great point too, about being faithful in our writing. As a Christian writer, it is a big drive for me, and there have been times (like recently) where God has set his hands on my shoulders and said, “Krista, I’ve called you to do this. Stop making excuses and do it if you want me to bless it. Kay?” Then, I nod my head like the corrected child I am. I LOVE that we serve a God who is patient with us and who will take the time to give us our own kick in the pants when we are off track!

  17. Blessings Krista on your journey. What a beautiful little girl! I was balancing a small child and elderly parents who lived with me with a lot of medical needs and a TV that was always on but somehow the work always got done on time. There were quite a few prayers said and I’d remind myself to just be where I was and God will take care of the rest. It made me into a great multi-tasker and got me over the hump of writing only when the muse hit. It’s amazing now when I look back at those years! Has to be proof of something bigger in our lives.

    1. Amen to that! I feel the same way, looking back at this past year, I’ve always been a multi-tasker ( probably a little TOO much ) so God actually used this for me to show me that sometimes, I need to put everything else aside and focus on the most important few things.

      1. It’s also been a great reminder of humility. That great stuff gets done even if my part was smaller or it was all delayed. Kind of a relief to find that out too.

  18. I think I’m the queen of “big honkin’ excuses” so I can relate. And I really think it does come down to that place in your brain that says, “I’m not trying to make it happen. I am making it happen.” It happens when we’re committed to things. I vowed to make the choice of loving my spouse no matter what, and there are times when “trying” would have done us in. And for those of us who know in our guts, deeper maybe, in our spirits- that writing is something we’re called to do- then we have to honor that committment with the same kind of determination.

    I don’t have any tricks or tips different than yours, except that I’d add, reading about women who have far more on their plate and they are still actively writing (not just intending to write, but writing) makes me work harder. So thank you.

    And you (and your beautiful little girl) will be in my head, you are hearby added to my list of “if she can do it, I can do this, get back to work” women.

    1. Thank you! And great analogy to a marriage! You are so write, it IS a choice, a deep down determination to do it even when we don’t always “feel” like it. Kinda like the parable of the Bible about the sower… the one with deep roots grew healthy, but the one that was just surface withered away with things got tough. I want my writing to have DEEP roots too!

  19. I am SO impressed that you get anything done given the time constraints on your life! You are my hero – no more excuses for me for not getting any writing done! I have had writer’s block for several months now and told myself I’d take the summer off because the two kids were home and it was just “too much”. After reading your blog, I’m giving myself a well-needed kick in the back side. Thanks for a great post.

    1. Goodness, there is a lot of back-side kicking going on today! Thanks, Patti!

      Although, let me add… there ARE times when we need to take a break. And that is okay. Our kids NEED to know they are important too! But I also think it is really good for them to see us “going after our dreams” and being dedicated too. As with everything, it is a balance!

  20. Krista, I think our husbands must be cut from the same piece of fabric–my guy and I had that same conversation pre-marriage. I’ve always remembered it, and I’ve “tried” to cut “try” the excuse form from my vocabulary.

    With both kids in school this year, I am setting a goal to write 1-2 hours a day. It won’t happen every day, but I’ve carved out mornings for quiet time and writing time. Mondays are my day to really focus on writing. I plan a crock pot or leftovers meal for the family that night so I don’t have to take time to actually cook something. It’s a new routine I’m establishing, but I’m really excited to stick with it and write.

    You truly are an inspiration. Your story certainly gives me nothing to fall back on when I think I can’t write on a given day (for whatever reason). Thanks for sharing your story and for the exhortation to sit myself in my chair and just write.

    1. Funny, I’m trying the opposite at the moment (jury is still out if it works!) I reserve my morning for “getting things done” around the house. Then I feel more “free” to spend timing on writing in the afternoon. It is REALLY hard for me, and there is that guilt factor, to write with my house is a mess! Or, at least that is one excuse I’ve been using lately! So I’m trying the whole “hurry up and get it done in the morning” thing. Here’s to hoping it works!!!

  21. What an awesome post, Krista!!! I’ve been “trying” a lot lately, but I’ve just gotta get down to business, ya know? πŸ™‚ Oh, and how fun to write in Panera! I had a moment like that a couple months ago…Took my van to get an oil change and cranked out 1000 words while I waited. Apparently being surrounded by mechanics is highly inspirational for me, LOL.

    1. I DO know!!! And yeah for 1k words during an oil change! That is fantastic! And I want to go to YOUR oil change place… at mine, the mechanics aren’t inspirational at ALL! HA!

  22. It is has been hard to start writing when I know there are things I need to do around the house. But the house will survive if I take time to write and polish my pages in hopes of expressing my topic to the reader. This is the first time I have been attempting to write a book and thankfully I have a group of writers to critique what I am attempting to do. We have a weekly meeting every Friday and I find it gives me the push to write more in order to have something to share.

  23. Thanks so much for that kick in the rear. It seems the more I put that off, the further I know where I was when I wrote last and got involved in something else. I must follow through and make a goal. Thanks so much for that story-you are a brave determined woman! You go girl and prayers for your daughter.

  24. This summer was all about “try” for me. Yeah, I had vertigo. Still do. And my 10-year-old was home from school. And my daughter got married. Lots of reasons to try to write and not succeed. Now that school has started and my daughter’s married, guess what? There’s a whole slew of new reasons why I can “try” to write.
    Your post is so timely, Krista! I browsed through the comments and I think I’ll borrow Keli’s idea of an accountability partner. And your idea of using small blocks of time? Well, I love big blocks of time to write–but maybe I can figure out a use for the small blocks of time too. Sketching out my chapters? Working on a blog post?
    God’s blessing on you and your family–and thank you for showing me what courage and perseverance look like.

  25. Hi Krista– This is a very powerful post and very timely for me right now. While I am in no way facing what you are right now (my prayers are with you!) I do feel really overwhelmed dealing with three kids and a job and a house and I feel like I never get around to writing. So, thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Thanks for your prayers, Erin. I TOTALLY know where you are too. Before Annabelle, I was in the same exact boat, 3 kiddos, a full-time job, and a house to take care of. I didn’t (and still don’t…) have the cleanest of houses, and I wasn’t PTO queen or even close to it (and still am not) but we managed! You can do it!!!!!

  26. Krista, I just have to say…you are awesome! Cheering for you all the way!

    I remember when I was first beginning to write, I went to see Anne Lamott give a talk in Omaha. She said something I didn’t forget: “Make the time to write, even if you have to start small. Turn off the evening news and write for 30 minutes if that’s all you can eek out at first.”

    I did exactly that (well, I didn’t watch the news to start with, but I did turn off the TV and start writing for about 30 minutes a few nights a week). The habit grew and grew. Now I still have a day job, and I still find myself complaining that I “don’t have time” from time to time…but I turn off the tv and write every night – Sunday-Thursday (I take Friday and Saturday nights off). It’s the consistency that works for me — I’ve simply made writing a habit.

  27. Krista, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this! And I appreciate the time you took to write it. Your time is precious πŸ™‚

    I’ve thought about Annabelle often; she was born the same month as my son. I continue to pray for her health.

    And now, thanks to your post, I’m going to log off and write πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Stephanie! I wrote this blog about a month ago… afraid I wouldn’t get time to do it later! HA! Yeah for loggin off and writing! GO GO GO!!! πŸ™‚

  28. FABULOUS reminder, Krista! And you should know!!
    Praise God for the way He blesses us with more than just ONE calling – but so many more.
    The calling to be His Kid!
    The calling to be a wife – a MOM – AND a writer!!!!
    He must really think you’re special.
    What am I writing? He KNOWS you’re special πŸ™‚

    Blessings girl!

  29. What a wonderful post! My hubby has a little saying “Try is a lie.” He has told it to our four daughters as long as I can remember. I realize that someone can REALLY try to do something, been in our modern world, “I’ll try” is about as sincere sometimes as the response, “Fine” when someone asks how you are. He has told our girls to be sincere and just do things.

    For all of the reasons I could list for my lack of productivity lately, I cannot list one as big as the trials you’ve been through with your precious little one. My God bless her and your family.

    I was just organizing a schedule to get me back on track with my writing. I’d already tossed the words “I’ll try” and settled on a plan. Thanks for making me realize that I’m not alone in this struggle.

      1. Tis okay. My editor likes to go on strike quite often too!!! And that is a GREAT GREAT thing to teach your kiddos! Something I’m trying to instill in my own, too!

  30. Great encouragement! Thanks for the tips…definitely important to just do it. Will be praying for your precious little girl!

  31. Such an inspiring and encouraging post, Krista! When I Was A Jesus Freak And Young, back around 1970, one of the pastors told us kids that “trying is lying.” It got me out of the habit really fast of saying “I’ll try,” but that doesn’t mean I’ve succeeded in making the most of my hours and minutes—not by a long shot. I needed this kick in the patoot, haha.

  32. Thanks for a wonderful reminder that we can “do” this. I recently started back to college after a sixteen year (aka known as birthing and raising four kids) break.

    I knew I was going to only take two classes to ease back into academia, but the schedule gives me two hours every class day to write. I’m so very excited!


  33. Krista, I’m late to this thread, but I just wanted to let you know that I pray for your family and your sweet daughter often. Your story is an inspiration, and your daughter is such a gift. God bless you all!

  34. Oh, Krista, my heart feels for you! With God’s help, you can do it. This is such a tough balance as writers. You are right, we all have our hurdles and excuses.

    Bless you, and go for it!

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