Thursday, September 8, 2016

Taking a Break

I've been told before that I push myself too hard. Its one of the ways I get done everything that I do. If you want to be an author, you have to learn to push yourself, because there is no one else there to do it (besides maybe your characters). There is no boss or board of directors in your writing career that are going to force you to complete a project by a certain time or help you improve by forcing you to study your craft. That all has to come from you. And as more and more publishers go by the wayside as well, your writing career is becoming more and more dependent on your own motivation.

But sometimes that need to push yourself hard can back fire. Which happened to me the last few months.

My personal life has been crazy the last few months, which I mentioned in a few blogs here before. I've been in the process of moving for four months (yes, I said four months, its been a long process) and before that I was consumed with the process of getting qualified for a mortgage (which is way too complicated a process, but that's a whole different story) and negotiating for my new home. My day job has been crazy, with not only work but leadership changes. And through it all I've been trying to push myself to write. To finish the story I've been working on by my own created deadline.

It was like tearing my fingernails out. I pushed and pushed and pushed, but I was getting no where but more exhausted, with my word count hardly going up. And even more, I wasn't enjoying my writing. I couldn't get into my character's heads. And the words I did get down on the page were just awful. They showed each second of struggle. But I kept pushing. Because that's what you have to do to get through the though parts.

But last month I finally broke down and decided now was not the time to push. That maybe what I needed was to relax. Its not easy for me, but I decided, at least until my move is complete it was my only option. And once I decided that, everything started to get a little clearer. The characters started to talk to me, and even more importantly I started to want to write again. The urge would suddenly come on me, without pushing or fighting. Something that hadn't happened in months. And new ideas started to come to me, sneaking up on my in the middle of the night, or during a meeting a work.

As much as it is my nature to push hard, and fight though any obstacle in my way, this last week has proven to me, that sometimes the right thing to do is to take a step back and take some time to rest. And I hope it will soon yield in a new outpouring of creativity and inspiration, but only time will tell for sure.


Tina Donahue said...

Wise words, Willa. Hope your move goes smoothly and your creativity spikes. :)

jean hart stewart said...

When my writing seems about to overcome me, I limit myself to one or two paragraphs a day for a while. Works for me, but I'm sure it's not the only answer. Just be assured, you're a write and you will write!!