Monday, January 28, 2013

On writing when you're busy

Everyone I know has a fairly busy schedule. It's been difficult for me to feel efficient when it comes to my writing in the midst of day to day momentum. There's always more to edit, more to expand on. After typing up how many medications a patient is on or when he or she was diagnosed with liver failure, sometimes the last thing I want to do is gaze at another lit screen. 

Here are some things I've learned the hard way when I'm especially swamped:

-It might take a long time to get back in the proper state of mind for writing.
When my days are crammed with science---drugs, diseases, Powerpoints---it can be difficult to shift into writing mode. It's important for me to remember to set aside that time in order to avoid frustration later. 

-Every day should be filled with some hint of creativity.
This might mean reading a quick poem, an insightful quote, or re-reading old edits but each day has to have a peek into the writing world. Otherwise, I tend to get too caught up in my surroundings and it's a slippery slope from there. The point is, even creativity can wither without use. 

-Reading things from an entirely different genre helps.
There's a level of novelty that keeps our own mind on its toes. The unexpected is where growth happens. 

-Free-writing can be the answer
Whether it's in a journal or on the margins of hospital notes, I find that my thoughts can always take on a life of their own if I allow them. Keeping a notebook nearby is always helpful (a lot of people also like the notepads on their phones).

-Being surrounded by books gives motivation
Any book, whether you think it's wonderful or terrible, took a lot of work for the author. That person deserves credit for finishing such a task and finding a home for it in the world. Learn from their persistence and drive.


  1. All of these are terrific, but I especially like "-Every day should be filled with some hint of creativity". You're so right- it's just like a muscle that will atrophy if we don't use it and will increase the more we exercise it.

    Take care!

  2. Good ideas! Sometimes just grabbing a notebook instead of using the computer helps as well.

  3. Today is definitely a free-writing kind of day. Love this advice!

  4. I can't tell you how many first drafts are birthed through ink and not a lighted screen. Good thoughts, as always. Mental exhaustion is just as tiring as the physical kind, if not moreso.

  5. Lots of great ideas here! Freewriting is often my go-to when I don't have tons of time, or feel stuck. Whether it's jotting possible plot ideas or journaling as my character, anything to keep the words flowing helps so much.

  6. I've been super busy lately too, and these are some great tips for getting some work done even in those busy times. Thanks!

  7. I like the line, "Every day should be filled with some hint of creativity." What a wonderful way to live!

  8. I am the same way... sometimes I'm just fried on 'reality' and it is exhausting to even think. I love what you said about 'peeking into the writing world'. I have felt that way myself. You need to hang on to that tenuous connection to your world and characters, or they are in danger of feeling like ...well fiction. That makes it really hard to get back into full on writing mode. :/

    I am glad you have found ways around the stresses of work... I find these very inspirational. thank you for sharing. :)

    Happy Writing!

  9. Great tips, Saumya. Sometimes writing in a notebook helps in a big way. At other time reading can be a stress buster.

  10. It's been too long since I've visited! I've been a blog ghost lately but that is because I am nearing the homestretch on edits, yay! But I miss this blog and will have to catch up on all of them now.

    This are such good tips for staying creative in the midst of other time-draining commitments. I remember when I was in college, I had the wildest most creative dreams (they felt so real) because my days were so full of facts and figures, my dreams were my only outlet for my starving creativity!