Organizing Your Emotions For The New Year (So You Can Write More!)

I may look like a 49-year-old mother of five, but sometimes I feel like a four-year-old with out of whack emotions.

 I whine, I cry, I forget to care for myself. I grumble at the thought of doing things for my family. I put off things like washing the dishes because I call  Pinterest “fostering creativity”. I cut corners because I think the task doesn’t matter.

I would like to think that I am a hot engine of productivity but I the truth is I let my emotions dominate.

I allow my whims to go uncontrolled and I call it “passion” or “fun”. Somehow I think that my life will put itself in order without curbing my emotional appetites. I reject self-discipline because I’m afraid it will suck the fun out of life. I hold on to laziness and call it “vegging out”. I snuggle up to procrastination and call it “enjoying life”. I don’t try something new because I remember failure. Instead, I snack on excuses like I snack on buckets of buttery popcorn and then wonder why I’m sluggish and flabby.

I need to be honest with myself. If I want to get things done, if I want my life in order, if I want to manage my time wisely. I’m going to have to grow up. Laziness, procrastination, and excuses disguise themselves as “feelings”. I need to organize my emotions.

These feelings and can be a huge hindrance to productivity.

Is it in yours too? I believe one of the main reasons why we never finish projects is because we’ve never made the toddler in us grow up. We’ve never yanked the reins of our daily tasks out of the hands of our emotions.

Our feelings are good. 

With them we are empathetic, we’re expressive and we’re joyous. But left unchecked, they are often our worst enemy when it comes to productivity. Our “I don’t feel like it” could be laziness in a soft, squishy package. Our creativity could be fear hiding behind a project that keeps us from facing responsibility. Our procrastination could be more than a quirk, it could be a lack of confidence. Our friends and family may be encouraging our lack of self-discipline because they don’t want change.

“Let’s be honest here. We have big dreams. We want to see our projects finished. We want to put excellent, finished books in the hands of our readers. We want to build our platforms. We want have regular blog readers. We want to grow our followers. We want to be successful. But none of those things will come to pass unless we are self-disciplined.”

“Happiness is dependent on self-discipline. We are the biggest obstacles to our own happiness. It is much easier to do battle with society and with others than to fight our own nature.”  –Dennis Prager. 

We may allow our emotions to control us when:

1. We don’t have any clear goals. The idea of keeping our lives in order feels overwhelming. It’s hard and we don’t know where to start. It’s easier to let our emotions react to the bigness of the task. It’s easier to put it off. Ask yourself: am I allowing my lack of a plan in the way I manage my time to be my excuse? Would having a plan, with small measurable goals make a difference? (We’re addressing this issue next week! Stay tuned!) 

2. We’ve failed before and it’s easier to avoid trying again. It’s okay to be afraid of failing especially when the sting of failure is fresh. We may have set many resolutions every year, only to fail by Martin Luther King Day. We’re all afraid. The most successful among us have learned to banish the fears to the back seat and let determination take the wheel. Few of us have the ability to stop the car and kick the fears out altogether. Ask yourself: am I allowing my fear of failure to keep me from trying again? Consider journaling about this: “I am afraid to start pursuing my dreams because ….” 

3. We don’t have the support of the people around us. Lazy, unproductive habits are contagious. If you are close to people who drag you into their Hulu watching habits, you may find any change to be difficult. Ask yourself: Am I allowing the habits of others to keep me from productivity? Am I finding it easier to follow poor examples of self discipline that good decisions for me? 

4. We’ve let our circumstances define our dreams. We may have too many kids. We may have too small of a house. We may be facing a financial crisis. Those are challenges, no doubt, but if we allow the challenges to be bigger than our vision,then we’ll never do anything. Ask yourself: Is their a challenge in my life that I use as an excuse to avoid self-discipline? Am I waiting for the perfect circumstance to get my life in order? Have I adopted a it’s just too hard right now, so why try attitude? 

The purpose of this week’s exercise is to illuminate your negative emotions:  habits of laziness, poor excuses, procrastination and emotional impulses.

I believe that if we have these habits in our lives, no calendar, no resolution, no app, no weekly email will make a difference. I want to encourage you to build a habit of self-discipline so when life gets messy, it’s not hard to get back on track and manage your time wisely.

Are you sweating yet? This is hard, isn’t it? But you can do it! I believe in you! 

“Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”  H. Jackson Brown, Jr

As you edge into 2018, consider how you make your decisions. Do you make them based only on your emotions? Do you often find excuses? Do you allow your “tiredness” to keep you from following your dreams?

Consider also how you may allow others’ expectations to stop you. Is your own vision for yourself at odds with the demands of others? What can you do about it?

I believe that you can be successful in 2018. With a new awareness of how your emotions keep you back, I believe that you can accomplish great things. I also believe that getting there is hard work and it may require you to make some tough choices.

It’s a new year and your dreams are worth it!

I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.


  • Sef

    Too many kids??? Then I glance at your bio. Gulp. Five! OK, you win…

    Great post, and it’s true that when we are overwhelmed or unsupported or just plain tired from other big projects, we can let heart rule head when it comes to creative ideas. My challenge for this year is to keep at it like last year … but be gentler on myself so I don’t burn out and want to throw it all away.

    Among my negative impulses is reading writing craft books instead of, you know, writing. 🙂 Craft books will be strictly rationed!