Nicole talked about writing in the face of tragedy.
Jen talked about writing in spite of everyday hurdles.
But what about when life knocks you on your butt?
There I was, a completed first draft, half the edits already accomplished, requests from two agents . . . and my husband was laid off from his job. Suddenly fiction was the furthest thing from my mind.
What do you do?
You keep writing. If you can't write fiction, journal. Every word on the page helps keep your writing muscle in shape. Every word is an act of hope that you will return to your stories.
Think of it like being an athlete. When a player gets an injury he does whatever he can to stay in shape. He does not become a couch potato. When Derek Lee of the Chicago Cubs broke his wrist, he concentrated on lower body workouts. As soon as the cast came off he started--carefully--working on his upper body, throwing, catching, preparing himself to rejoin the game.
When life temporarily takes you out of the game, don't let your writing muscle get flabby. Do what you can to keep it in shape. Journal. Freewrite. Do a writing exercise using a prompt. Every single word on the page keeps you in shape for when you can return to the game of fiction.