Working Through Challenges

Every writer has faced situations which made it hard for them to concentrate. People face this in 9-to-5 jobs, as well, and deal with it in one of three ways:

Close their office door, play solitaire all day and hope they don't get caught or;

Suck it up and get their work done or;

Ask the boss if they can go home.

The third will work if you have a valid reason: illness, death in the family, etc. "It's raining," is not usually a reason to request PTO.

Writers face these same challenges, great and small, and to some degree, have the same options. The major difference is we can surf the web or play solitaire all day and remain accountable only to ourselves. And we don't have to ask permission to call it quits. That only makes the temptation to do so greater.

So which is the right choice?

In most cases, I'm a staunch advocate for number 2.

"A writer writes, everyday." "How will others take your job seriously if you don't?" Pick your cliche to describe that frame of mind that says "I am a real writer."

Jenn Hollowell noted what a gray, dismal dreary day it is. She decided she's going to close all the blinds, turn on all the lights, and pretend it's night time in order to get some work done. If what you're facing that's keeping you from working isn't that bad, or you have an important deadline, do whatever it takes and get it done.

Option number 1 is really just fooling yourself. You could say you're "searching for markets" or "checking up on the competition" or simply "stirring the creative pot" as you read 3 weeks worth of blogs and play 6 Degrees of Separation on Wikipedia, don't fool yourself. Accept that you've decided to take some time off, and enjoy your surfing or chatting or Internet poker guilt free. Put aside the notion that you "should be" doing something else. If you're going to goof-off, at least enjoy it!

At that point, also ask yourself if you could be more productive with the computer off.

It might just make sense to call it quits for the day and begin refreshed tomorrow.
Deadlines will be met, work will get done. When it's crunch time, you always make it happen.

Parkinson's Law states, "Work expands to fill the time available." If you only have one day to finish that article, you'll finish it.

If you had two days... well, you'd have taken both. Might as well enjoy the other day, instead.

How do you handle circumstances that make it hard for you to write?