In the course of your creative journey, you will grow through different phases and changes in your life. Knowing how to deal with sudden life changes that may or may not disrupt the flow of your creative process is important.
Dealing with these subtle or monumental changes when they occur gives you room to accommodate them as a part of your progress rather than plague your thoughts with guilt for picking one over the other.
What are sudden life changes for humans and writers alike?
Sudden life changes are subtle or monumental events that externally or internally disrupt normalcy in your life and your creative process.
It’s sudden because you had no power to prevent it from happening, but have to deal with it when it does.
These changes manifest and affect you in different ways. Some events can have devastating implications on your well-being, while others might barely scratch your mood surface.
In some cases, these events may stretch you beyond your limits, while others will drain every last drop of the mental and emotional energy you have.
Some changes elicit happy and excited moods, but give you little time to act on them. Others may leave you in a perpetual state of agony and pain for a while.
It also involves instances of moving to a new environment, changing jobs, relocating, hospitalization, or caring for a sick relative.
It could also manifest forms of personal challenges (self-care, health, financial, mental, social, emotional, or physical), political mandates, environmental challenges, technological challenges, and more.
Are Sudden Life Changes Orchestrated To Make You Feel Guilty?
Negative. Change is the law of life and a normal process. It asks no permission to invade your privacy.
You shouldn’t feel guilty for halting your creative process because you lost a loved one. You should mourn and process their death as long as you want.
Giving birth is a joyous moment, but you also need time to heal and settle in with your new routine that involves a newborn before allowing guilt to eat you up for not writing as much anymore.
You also need to settle down in a new environment and learn your way around and fully unpack before jumping right back to your creative schedule.
You might even find that you need to make some new adjustments or additions to your schedule.
These are important parts of your life, so give yourself time to process all of it without guilt.
Embracing your life changes as a part of your growth process, and life stage is a great way to accept these changes guilt-free.
How To Deal With Sudden Life Changes As A Burgeoning Writer
Take Some Quality Time Off
Your primary priority as a human should be dealing with the changes in your life first.
To do that, you’ll need to take some quality time off to ease off the pressure of juggling a lot at once. You will also need to stay completely honest with yourself and anyone else your absence will affect. ‘
Reach out and inform them why you need the time off.
There are two ways to approach this viz:
- If you’re handling creative projects, honestly ask for an extension from your clients, explaining why you need it.
Leaving without warning will put your work relationship at risk.
However, in cases of extreme health conditions, it is understandable that there won’t be time to give changes, a heads-up.
Still, when you’ve recovered, make it a priority to extend a notice to them.
If you’re dealing with changes that’ll happen in stages, like bereavement, relocation, or marriage, inform your clients about such changes before things get chaotic.
- If you’re working on your project and answer no one, you still need to evaluate your projects before placing them on hold.
It’s harder to take time off when you’re working alone because the guilt runs deeper. Still, it is necessary so you can process your changes in real time.
Process Your Life Changes In Real-Time
Don’t leave your processes for later. Don’t shove it aside or discard it as bothering. It doesn’t help.
It’s understandable when dealing with grief and healing because we process things differently, but prolonging preparations or delaying actions that you can do right away will cause you more harm than good.
If there are things you can do now to fast-track your adjustment to this recent change, do it now. Make plans when needed, and pick up where you left off until that phase settles in.
Recently, I traveled for the holidays which also coincided with the burial ceremony of my late grandmother.
This change happened in stages. First, I grieved when I got the news that she had passed on. Then I had to make some burial arrangements alongside my dad as it concerned my family.
Afterward, I had to set up remote processes at work since I traveled earlier than usual and will return late because of her burial.
With each stage of accepting this change, I had to pause my creative process to focus on them. It wasn’t until it was time to travel that I officially took time off and asked permission from my clients based on the reality of my situation.
Accommodate New Changes
Before the first two can effectively take place, you have to make room to accommodate these changes.
Have you accepted the loss of a loved one yet? Or opened up your heart to healing from pain? Are you ready to relocate and explore new opportunities? Are you ready to get married?
Have you made appropriate plans as an expectant mother?
How ready are you to accept these new changes in your life? Are you willing to make room and accommodate them with all the baggage that comes with it, or are you dealing with things even deeper?
Sometimes, your unwillingness to accommodate new changes is what allows guilt to slip through.
Or, not being honest with how we feel about these changes and dealing with them permits guilt into your headspace.
To avoid feeling guilty about dealing with sudden life changes instead of pounding away at a computer, accommodate and process it.
Find Balance In The Chaos
As a writer, it’s undoubtedly true that you love your peace. And quiet. Naturally, we all do.
What we all despise is anything interrupting that bubble, but the truth is that accommodating life changes comes with chaos and baggage.
I believe we both prefer the former, so ensure you make enough room to embrace the chaos. That’s why taking time off and processing your changes in real-time is important.
In Your Spare Time, Do The Little You Can
Your routine as a writer will be messy during this time.
There’s every possibility that you’ll be stressed, tired, unstable, and emotional as you progress through these phases. So, don’t force even the most mundane task if you can’t concentrate.
If you can spare ten mins, create for that time and let it go.
Truth pill – I was on holiday for a month but couldn’t get anything done because I was stressed, too tired to lift a finger, and emotionally unstable.
When you throw in the fact that my hometown had little or no electricity, and we did everything manually, you’ll understand how frustrating it was to think about creating.
So, I made outlines instead and took notes for later, saving them in my notebook, which worked well for me.
I had to do the little I could gratefully, and let the rest be until I got back to base.
Reshuffle Your Creative Schedule
When accommodating sudden life changes, you’ll have to make adjustments in your creative schedule to fit your current situation.
Reshuffling your schedule doesn’t make you a lazy or unproductive writer, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed for accepting your current reality.
Reworking your creative schedule helps you understand how best to make the most of the sparse time you have, to create.
This way, you won’t have to force yourself to work long hours in the morning and have a shitty day at work.
Reshuffling provides you an opportunity to work reasonably despite the new changes you’re dealing with.
Spare Yourself The Guilt
Protect your headspace from guilt.
You are not the cause of the sudden changes in your life. Directly or indirectly, they add or take away something from you that you cannot control, but have to deal with.
So, if you’ve got to take a few weeks off to prepare for your wedding ceremony, why feel guilty?
Or if you’re hurting so much from loss, and can’t concentrate without breaking down, why feel guilty for taking time off to process it?
Spare yourself from the guilt and accept your reality instead. Deal with what you should, embrace your growth, and process your changes.
That is the best way to deal with anything that life suddenly throws at you.
As a burgeoning writer, you’ll have moments that’ll challenge your creative headspace positively or negatively.
How you choose to navigate the chaos when it’s time will determine how refined you’ll come out on the other side.
Genuine acceptance and openness to your reality are the best ways to deal with sudden life changes as a writer.