This whole figuring out a "new normal" thing sucks. I 'm just going to say it. I've been in a fibromyalgia flare now for WEEKS, which puts me right into the depressed/I'm disposable mindset that is totally not conducive to writing. And that sucks, because I am this close (holds up fingers an inch apart) to finish the sixth book in my Noble Dreams series and I have 2 modern fantasy books in my "needs editing damn it" pile. I WANT to get this stuff out. I WANT to write. The brain? It says not so much.
So today's writing advice is how to write when you feel like poo. When you want to write, and you can't, and because of that your brain beats you up and says how much of a failure you are. Because yeah, that sure helps. (NOT!)
I also promise you that I won't fill this post with inspiration claptrap and toxic positivity. I think the first step in this case is to acknowledge where you are. Admitting to yourself the truth, that you don't feel well, your brain isn't cooperating, and it's impacting your ability to write leads to compassion for yourself.
Because you do need to be compassionate with yourself. If you broke your leg and couldn't run a marathon, you wouldn't hate yourself. You might be disappointed if running marathons was your thing, but you wouldn't call yourself a failure, etc. You'd talk to your doctor about when you can safely resume training and go from there. It's the same with your brain.
Even if you don't have a doctor to talk to (and I acknowledge this is a very real situation), taking time out to rest is still vital. Then, start slowly. Just like the runner with the injury, even if it's just a sprained ankle, don't do it all at once. Celebrate the milestones you do achieve.
For example, yesterday my daily goal as it usually is was 3000 words. And I'm SO close to finishing this novella so I really wanted to get there. But no. It just didn't happen. I did 1600 words and that was it. I spent the rest of the day in self-care reading a book (and starting the sequel) and it helped. Today? I've gotten maybe 200 words in, and I should finish the novella (2900 words is the goal), but it may take me until 7 tonight to do it. That's okay.
Small goals are good. Did you write? Even if it was 10 words, are you writing?
Will switching projects help? I've got a deadline so my next project is marked, but the one after that? It's the nonfiction book I've been wanting to write for a few months.
Can you take time off? You may not be able to take time off from your day job. That's a very real thing. But if you can? Do it.
Can you find somewhere that will change your environment? Go outside. Sit on a picnic table. Curl up in bed. Sprawl on the couch.
And finally know that you are not a failure for not writing. You haven't ruined your career or any of the other stupid stuff your head says. Remember, your brain lies to you.
For my Patrons, I'll let you know on my Thursday update if I've finished that novella. Wish me luck!