Suit up and Show up

How is it possible to get everything done in the middle of everything going on?

September / October are my busiest, craziest months of the year and more times than I can count I’ve caught myself complaining: There’s no way I can get it all done. There’s no way I can relax and find my creative zone when I have this, that, and the other thing rocking-and-rolling all around me.

But where does that complaint get me? Do I honestly expect the Universe to toss down some extra time for me? Do I truly think that by complaining, someone (the Universe) will sympathize and release my burdens so I can write?

Of course I don’t—but you know what the complaint does get me? Decreased energy. Decreased motivation. Lack of inspiration. A dislike of my stories. Resentment toward my family. Exhaustion.

I can’t create when I complain about not being able to create. This is fact. It’s also fact that I can’t make time to write when I complain about not having enough time to write. Complaining gets us to Nowheresville. And let me tell you—ain’t no creating getting done in that hell hole.

Horribly, when we allow ourselves to dwell in the “can’ts” and the “aren’ts” and the “no ways” and the “impossibles” we begin to drift away from joyful living and creative possibility.

We start trashing the things we blame for causing our lack of time or our busyness. But guess what? More often than not, the things we’re involved in that cause our lack of time and busyness are other people. Relationships. Sure, there are other nasty kinds of things that keep us from creating, like paying jobs, but here’s a warning—complaining about a job that is providing a roof over your head or food on the table isn’t really a hot idea. Just saying.

Lots of times, we handle our struggle by creating here and there, sometimes, with no specific schedule or strategy. Just create when we can, if we can.

What kind of message does sporadic creation give your writer self? Think about that. It’s no different than sporadic nutrition to your physical body. No different than sporadic learning to your mind.

Things stop thriving.

The key strategy to honor your commitment to your writer self is to suit up and show up (advice handed out from AA). Alcoholics or addicts of any kind can’t just not show up to work or to family responsibilities just because they’re not feeling well or because they aren’t prepared or motivated. I mean they can, theoretically, but how long will they keep their jobs, keep their families with that behavior?

If you’re a writer, then writing is your job. Bottom line. It may be a full-time or part-time or hour-a-day job–the frequency doesn’t matter. What matters is how you’re going to make it happen. You need to decide upon some rules based on your ultimate goals, your vision, your passion.

If you’re a full-time writer, what does that mean to you? How will you suit up and show up for a full day of writing? Everyone will have a different answer for this, so be mindful that you’re honoring your true self, and not the vision of someone else.

If you’re a part-time writer, what does that mean to you? How will you suit up and show up for a twenty-hour day of writing? What if your part-time schedule is more like a lunch-hour schedule? The expectation is no different. You still need to decide how to suit up and show up for that one hour of creativity every day.


  1. Set your time to write and treat it like a job.
  2. Get dressed in whatever you deem your writer’s attire.
  3. Prepare your writing habitat for your writing session. Do you need coffee? Do you turn on the fan? Is your writing playlist ready to go? Is your phone silenced? Do you light candles or incense?
  4. Fire up your mindset. Get out those positive affirmations, reel them off, and let them set the tone.
  5. Show up for your writing session and do your freaking job.

If you want to write but you’re stuck in the middle of Life, it’s up to you to build Life around your writing. This looks different for everyone, so you’re going to have to dig deep in your natural writing forces to help you find your strengths.

Does not matter if your writing only takes up one hour a day or if it is a twelve-hour-a-day behemoth. It ain’t going away because it’s creativity and that is a part of you. So you might as well learn how to work side-by-side with it, honor it, make compromises, and treat it with respect.

Once you do that, you may be surprised at how easily things begin to flow.

How do you suit up and show up for your writing?

Have a writerly day!

11 thoughts on “Suit up and Show up”

  1. Oh, I do like your spunk here. I grew up in a family where you weren’t *allowed* to whine or complain so I learned early on to show up regardless of how you felt about it. Your title says it all, in my opinion.

    • Thanks! I feel the earlier we learn that more actually gets accomplished if we show up to do the work than if we complain about having to do it, it’s not as much of a problem. Our complaining makes it seem so much worse than it really is.

  2. Great post, Kate! I’m doing an early NaNoWri this year due to contract deadlines, so I’ve been sticking to a committed schedule of at least 1000 words every day. It’s now and habit and something that’s just part of my day.

  3. So good! I also love NaNo for the discipline and I thank you for introducing it to me oh so many years ago. Also loved your 5-list in your newsletter. I’m definitely someone who bounces around between way too many things and tries to squeeze more in even if I finish five productive things. Thanks all around!

    • Me too, Amy. I have a short attention span and thoughts/ideas are constantly zinging around my brain. Hard to stay focused on a task till it’s complete. This five a day list makes it easier to stay on track.

  4. Just what I needed Kate, a kick in the motivational pants. I think we’re living parallel lives. And the planets have me in too many directions, lol. I agree with every word. 🙂

    • I’m flying around with you, Debby! Far too many directions and things to do and tasks to accomplish. We really have no one to blame but ourselves, which is helpful, because now we know we have the power to whip ourselves into shape!


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