Up until now I had excuses.

Firstly, there’s a bloody war going on.

Ok – maybe not a full fledged war – maybe just an operation, that is a mini-undeclared-war – but it is bloody. And completely unnecessary.

With sirens going off, who knows when, I try to take precautions and not go out if I don’t really need to.

Next is the fact that it’s summer and my three kids are home because I won’t let them out of the house without adult supervision – see above.

Listening to the news is also not helpful and the general mood of things – at least for me, is quite depressing. I don’t really feel like doing anything, even though writing is always on my mind.

But I have a break; for at least an hour, because my husband couldn’t stand it – being in the house that is – and so he went to the Israel Museum and took the kids with him. So I’m going to finally sit down and write.

I’ve put together a list that will hopefully help me and anyone else being touched by this bloody war to keep on with their writing.

Here it is:

  1. Commit. You don’t need to write all day. But you do need to be able to commit. An hour, or even less, will make you feel like you’ve done something productive with your day. If that hour goes well, it may help you write another hour, but begin with a minimum that you are able to commit to and work from there.
  2. Find a quiet spot. This may be relatively tough or easy depending on where you live in the small State of Israel. In Jerusalem, we’ve only had three sirens in ten days. Just the fact that one may go off any second is enough to distract me – because, yes, they are scary. And yes it is scary to get your family to safety, down five flights of stairs to the bomb shelter in a minute and a half. But I have been able to commit to about thirty minutes of writing, without my kids pretending that I am the local jungle gym.
  3. If you can’t write – do research. While I haven’t been working on writing my novel, I have been doing a fair amount of research. Ok, fine, it’s a fantasy novel and I’m not doing the type of research you might have in mind. But I’m clarifying ideas and working on my characters and that will hopefully help me move my book along, when my mind is more clear, after this bloody war. And I hope it’s soon.
  4. Keep a diary. I don’t really do this. Instead, I do something Julia Cameron calls ‘morning pages’ and Natalie Goldberg calls ‘writing practice.’ These are similar, though there are differences and I recommend reading both Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” and Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.” But have a notebook and write. You can write about your day, your non-important feelings of hunger or you can make it count and write about what hurts. You can also mix it up. Just be sure not to care too much, because it might cause you to resist writing and that’s not what you want. Just write. Even if you think it’s shit.

That sums up my list. But if you have any ideas, I’d love for you to share them. Because in this time of war, operation or mini-war, it really is difficult to continue writing as if there’s nothing going on.