Getting Back on Track When Life Takes a New Direction.

My mom was in the hospital all last week.

It was a minor heart attack, but it gave our whole family a major scare. My amazing wife got time off work and made sure we spent most of the week with her. They released her at the end of the week after the doctors’ tests came up clear. She’s fine and back to doing her own thing.

I realized I was still shaken up when I returned to work Monday morning.

Big, jarring events always throw me for a creative loop. Some people let crazy situations fuel their hobbies or passions, or they get lost in their work. I have a hard time settling back into life when something drastically alters it. When I go to tap into my imagination, all I think about are the real things that’re happening around me. Then I start to find the idea of writing a little silly.

To derail that train of thought, I tried something different.

I spent my week doing things I love.

I started with my morning routine where I roll out of bed, onto the floor, and roll around some more. Some people call it yoga. I call it waking up. Honestly though, taking the time to wake up gently rather than flying through the morning keeps my day from feeling anxious or “too busy” the moment my eyes blink open. I also consider this my meditation time where I mentally clear my inbox before life comes flying at me.

I got back to my workout plan. As an ex-personal trainer, exercise plays an important part in my life – I just traded the gym for Spartans, mountains, and martial arts. My fitness goals have less to do with looks and more to do with learning skills or pushing my performance, which helps me stay disciplined and excited to put in the work. Working out gives me a sense of accomplishment, and all those yummy endorphins are hard to beat. It also sparks my creativity when I’m dying on the ground after a hundred or two kick drills.

I let my creative hobbies inspire me. My best ideas come from all my favorite (and sometimes not) media. Music gives me a backdrop for scenes or personalities. My favorite authors always show me new tricks and styles of writing to play around with. Games give me a visual story that helps me visualize scenes for writing. I’ve been doing more of these things than usual and letting my story bank build up.

If it sounds like I haven’t fit in a lot of writing this week, don’t be fooled.

I completed the planner I’ll be using for my novels and now I’m officially ready to edit my rough draft. I started a new job writing for a company I’m genuinely excited about. And I’m back to writing my blog. Obviously.

To sum up, instead of questioning my existence as a writer I –

  • Used my morning routine to wake up my mind naturally and prepare for the day.
  • Went outside and sparked my creativity while I cardio’d myself to death.
  • Chilled out with good books, music, and video games to stir up new ideas.

And most importantly, I did all these fun things with rigid scheduling. My day is planned to the half-hour and filled with equal parts fun and work. Schedules are my lifeline, and without them, I’m like Sandra Bullock from Gravity without hers – just a little lost.

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