Saturday, December 8, 2018

Refilling the Well #selfcare #writing

I'm a very goal oriented person. There are some aspects of being that way that are good. I'm sure this trait is one of the reasons that I got published in the first place. The drive and determination towards the goal, no matter what. And the reason that I've continued in this industry all these years. But being focused on goals can have some side effects, such as not always being able to see the big picture.

For the last year, writing wise I've been struggling. I had a fantastic 2017. I put out the most works I ever have, had the highest sales I ever had and expanded my knowledge by attending my first writing convention in five years. But doing that much also drained my well. I wasn't surprised that I was burnt out for a while, but the burn out seemed to linger. Over the past year I started several stories, but nothing real stuck. It was an extremely frustrating state for writer.

That was until Nanowrimo came around. I love Nanowrimo. Its one of my favorite times of the year. And last year, because of my December releases, I had to skip it. So regardless of the difficulties I've had this last year, so I wasn't going to skip it again. But just like all my other stories I'd started in 2018 it started okay, but keeping the momentum going (which you need to win Nanowrio) was difficult.

But about half way through the month I had a realization. I hadn't read a book in my genre in over a year. It was that goal oriented behavior all over again. I'd been focused on the goal of writing, revising, reading the books on my bookshelves to make room for more, that I hadn't focused any time on just enjoying the process. On focusing on what I enjoyed about writing instead of the tasks it required. I hadn't done anything to fill my erotic romance well.

Whether it was a combination of the amount of time, the community and accountability of Nano, reading a great erotic romance or some combination of all three, it became apparent to me just how depleted my well was. And with a little bit of time and effort I was able to fill that well back up, at least enough to get to my 50,000 words for Nanowrimo and keep up the momentum on a story to close to finished.

Now that I know what the problem is, I am working hard to fix it. I'm trying to read more, to focus more on what I enjoy and on writing books that I enjoy, not what might sell well for the industry or what publishers are looking for. I'm trying to focus on refilling that well, in taking care of myself and my passion. And for the right now its working. For the first time all year, I've maintained the momentum on one project for over a month and I am close to completing it.

For any other goal oriented people out there, if you're having trouble doing what makes you happy. Take a moment and get back to the beginning. Spend some time rediscovering why you fell in love with your passion to begin with. At that time you might not feel like you are working toward your goals, but taking time for yourself can be the most important thing you can do. Not just for you goals, but for you.


Tina Donahue said...

I hear you, Willa. Getting burned out happens to all of us. But then the writing bug hits again, and you're off to the races! Hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season. :)

Melissa Keir said...

What great advice. :) I'm in the reading mood lately and have spent a good deal of time re-reading my favorites.