Falling down, getting back up.
So. Eventually, in all this, you stop writing again. You will know the reason best. For me, it was the San Diego Comic Con. Took up a total of two weeks. Then another week of recovery, and then yet one more week for.. something. Which is just another way of phrasing: “you know you should be writing, but you’re doing anything to avoid it”.
The problem is that the when you stop, there’s always a good reason. It’s not like I woke up every day for a month and just said: “Naww. I’m gonna eat bon-bons.” I have a perfect storm of things that need my attention. Dire. Each and every one of them. Easy to loose myself in the stream of continual overload and demand, and I did. That’s a month of not writing. Time was, that a break like that would put me off for a half year. Look! I’m back.
In part, what will help in getting back up is to never truly leave in the first place. Writing is the end result, make no mistake. For those who cry: “To be published is the end result”, we will agree to disagree. Publication is something that occurs while you’re buried in the next project. So what can you do when you are sidetracked and don’t have the time or will to write?
- If you know you will need to take a break, finish a short something before you stop. Something that you can look at when you are returning that indicates that it hasn’t been all that long and you are, indeed, a writer.
- Fit in reading about writing. Most of you writers will be rabid readers, we can always fit a small slice of time in for a page or two.
- See if you can learn something about the writing craft from where you are. For me, I visited the publisher’s booths at the ‘Con and asked questions. For you, perhaps you can snag a laptop and browse sites that you normally have no time or inclination for that concern your craft.
- If you’re meeting new people, and you are not on the clock, introduce yourself as a writer. I know, you’re not published yet, that’s not the point. You don’t want to feel awkward at your first book signings do you? Get used to telling people that you’re a writer. Get a card. It gets easier over time. Commit.
- Mull over your story arcs. I’m doing quite a bit of research for my novel. This information needs percolation! Can’t sit down to write? Now’s the time to percolate!
- Be kind to yourself if you lack boundless energy to throw at the keyboard upon your return. Expect a week to pass. You wouldn’t go jogging with a pulled muscle now, would you?
Now it took me another week. I was not idle, but neither was I writing. I fell back into my internal creative process. I saw things with my mind’s eye and did not share them on paper. Alarms started going off. Doubts began to circle overhead like the mangy vultures they are. What to do?
I can only share with you what I did. I made sure in those two weeks to do the basics: exercise. Inactivity will sap the creative spirit, I swear. So out into the world I went. By the second week, with all the tension I was generating by not writing, exercise was critical. I was actually compassionate towards myself. I did not subscribe to calling myself names and signaling to all and sundry that I had failed and was a fake. Understand that for me, this is a major step forward. Not in the typical way, being supportive, but rather by not allowing the polarization of single event in time. Looking at things maturely means that not writing, even for a month, does not doom me to eternal failure. It does not mean that I missed the best writing I could have done in my career. It just means I didn’t write for a month. Lo and behold: I produced this. I’m very pleased.
I will speak of the ‘Con. I did find out some things of interest there; but I felt it was equally important to share tales of failure and struggle. We are but a reflection of each other in the circle. We can all get back up once more.