How to Write a Strong Story When You Feel Less Than Strong

How to Write a Strong Story When You Feel Less Than Strong, #365StrongStories by Marisa Goudy, writing coach for therapists and healersMaking blogging, newsletter, and other content marketing details when you're sick, stressed, or sad... It's one of the toughest parts of running a practice or a small business because, let's be honest, you're pretty much always writing this week's material just days or hours before it goes live. What happens when life or your mood gets in the way of getting yourself in front of your audience?

First, ask yourself: MUST I get this written today?

That depends on several factors, so go deeper and ask yourself a few more questions.

Are these self-imposed deadlines or did you promise a guest post or something that is going to print?

When another site or publication is waiting on you, writing becomes a job you simply need to do. I suggest you set a time, sit down in that chair, and put words on the page. Call in a friend or an editor to help you bring it up to your "I feel fabulous!" standards if you're having trouble connecting your ideas and connecting to readers.

Breaking a promise to yourself is no easier than letting down a colleague or an editor, but it may have fewer longterm consequences. Can you forgive yourself for posting on a Friday instead of a Thursday? If you're not in the middle of a big launch cycle, can you skip on the newsletter this week?

When you set publication schedules for yourself, be clear about your own boundaries. Be realistic and be compassionate with yourself.

In my case, a #365project offers ZERO wiggle room. Daily means daily and skipping a day seems like a really big problem. The pay off on showing up every day is huge, but there is a big price. I admit that I am looking forward to a nice, manageable weekly project for 2017! (Editor's note: by mid-May 2016 I realized that a daily publishing project was a terrible idea for me.)

If you decide you MUST write even when you're not feeling like yourself...

Look into your own working style. How do you handle other projects when you just don't feel good?

Are you more successful when you muscle through (and then take a much needed rest after)?

Or, are you more productive if you are tender with yourself throughout? Do you thrive with lots of tea breaks and gentle stretching and doing the work in the corner of the couch wrapped in your favorite blanket?

What if writing wasn't a chore? What if it was your solace?

When you are writing a post that comes from the heart, try to look at blogging itself as part of your own healing process.

After all, as a therapist or healer or creative being, many of the issues that your ideal reader faces are likely related to low energy and  longing to get the zest back. People appreciate it when you meet them where they are - though do remember that your job is to offer hope and some sort of next, positive step.

Write from a place of quiet and restoration. Let the message be soft. This post may take way longer to write than it "should." Let that be ok - especially if the the alternative is "I feel crappy" default mode whether that's a Netflix binge or staring vacantly at your Facebook feed.

Write what feels good today and call that your "self-focused first draft." Get to bed early tonight and come back to things in the morning. Then, thanks to the gifts of distance and perspective, you can tighten up your sentence and paragraph structure and look at the whole piece in terms of the needs and interests of the ideal reader.

Need help deciding how to look at your writing through the eyes of the ideal reader? Start by learning the Story Triangle.

Get instant access