Episode 36: Getting Straight A's in Life

In this episode:

We place a lot of undue stress on ourselves as Moms and parents, and in today's episode we talk about self care and writing as a parent when things in your life aren't going to plan. Mel got sick before her pages were due and couldn't get as much done as she wanted to this week. She emailed Jennie in a panic, who told her, "This isn't high school! I'm not going to give you detention!" 

Jennie, Abby, and Mel talk about how writers can turn off the voice of perfectionism and hone in your mom/dad superpowers to discern when you need to protect your writing space and when you need to prioritize other things. Wether it be kids, your spouse, you day job or whatever - none of us live in a vacuum, and sometimes you need to postpone your deadlines to take care of other things in your life - no guilt required! 

I think a lot of writers, so many writers - must have been those kids in school were all about getting an A. The idea that we can get it right, that perfection is possible - that’s one thing, and it’s what drives a lot of writers. part of the process of becoming the best writer you can be is getting that voice out of your head, to make it shut up for a minute and listen to what your story needs to be.
— Jennie Nash
What I’ve had to tell myself is that I need to let go of this sense of urgency - the sense that I have this deadline looming. And in a way it’s sort of self-imposed. Being able to determine what is truly urgent and what is not urgent— making that distinction and knowing what to focus on can be really, really difficult.
— Abby Mathews

Jennie talks with Mel about her revisions in the chapter she was working on before she got sick, and they discuss the decision on whether or not to go back and revise before you move on to new scenes, and sometimes you need more world building and preparation in order to make further scenes work.

If you don’t lock these things in, you can’t pull them through the whole piece. If they’re sort of vague and it’s not fixed, they’re going to remain vague through the whole thing.
— Jennie Nash

We also discuss "emotional cost-benefit analysis" from Lisa Cron - we want to see what kind of emotional cost-benefit analysis the characters are making, and how they make their decisions, either to identify with them or to walk in someone else's shoes for an experience we would never have. 

Keeping that momentum in your writing, even if it's just two pages at a time, and not "letting yourself out of it" is as important as making regular page goals and deadlines. If you can, try to leave some mental real estate available to let your story be in your head. The danger of life getting in the way of writing is shutting the story out of your head so completely that you don't allow it the space it needs. Telling yourself you're going to write "sometime" when "things slow down" doesn't work - not making sustained excuses is what gets projects finished. If you chip away at it you're going to get where you need to go.