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?

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