I actually don’t have a straightforward answer for you.
I’ve been having a hard time lately, I’m not going to lie. I’ve had to Tony Robbins myself into writing or editing (my own work) and it’s just been a damn chore every time. I’ve mentioned this a few times lately in writer chats, but I keep having to remind myself that I love doing this. Now, you might be thinking: If you have to remind yourself, then do you REALLY love it?
I do. I know I do.
I never feel more free and alive and grounded than when I complete my writing or editing for the day. I have focused so much on bettering my writing, and taking everyone else’s advice, that I let it all strip me of my creative voice. It seems hypocritical, but here’s some of my own writing/editing advice for you: ENJOY YOURSELF. We put so much pressure on ourselves that we end up burning out and then we complain, we procrastinate, and we indulge in habits that are the opposite of conducive to our goals.
I’m reading Big Magic right now when I get a few minutes out of my crazy life. I know, it’s about time. Elizabeth Gilbert mentions that we should be rebels to the craft and that we should start enjoying our writing time. I realized as I read this that I’ve been keeping myself from my writing joy. Even when I’ve accomplished my goals lately, I’ve sunk into a kind of post-writing/editing funk, and if you’ve ever been there, you know it’s hard to come back from. It is difficult for me to stop stressing and enjoy myself. More than ever right now, there’s a pressure to succeed and to start making money with my writing/editing and that constant nagging reminder is robbing me of this happiness that writing usually brings me.
I’ve noticed that a lot of my writing friends on Twitter have been having a hard time as well, and I can’t help but think they may be experiencing something similar.
I’m experiencing many an epiphany lately about how I can work and how I SHOULD work. At this moment, all I know is that I want to get back to the point where I love what I’m doing and I don’t have to feel like hell for forcing myself into something I know I should be enjoying in the first place. Imagine my shock when I hear from some writers saying they never have an issue with “burnout.” It certainly wasn’t their fault, but it made me feel like something was wrong with me. In pure coincidence I picked up The INFJ Writer by Lauren Sapala and I have been reading this as an offset to Big Magic. Both are incredibly inspiring, but while Big Magic is a bit pushy (and I mean that in a positive way, a lot of us need a good push), I have come to realize that some of us just work differently. AND THAT’S OKAY. It can be endlessly frustrating when seeing how everyone else works, but some of us have to learn that we have limitations and we have to accept that in order find our process.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to other writers when it comes to how much we can manage. I have some people I follow on Twitter who can write a 100k+ novel in four days (I’m looking at you, inhuman Cait), and then there are those like me who are only finishing their very first rough draft (that took months and months of work) only to need to work on something else. How can we expect everyone to work at the same pace? How can we do that to ourselves?
I’m not saying not to hold yourself accountable, but know your limits. Know if you can push your limits, try to know what you need as a creative artist and RESPECT YOURSELF. Writers are hard workers. I don’t care what anyone else says. Writing is hard work and that alone should make you respect yourself. If you’ve ever felt anything like this, I want you to look back at how you’ve worked in the past, fix what you can and forgive what you can’t. Respect yourself, you deserve it. If you can’t quite manage that at this moment, please know that I respect you for your efforts. You have someone in this world that cares.
It’s working for me. I wrote 3000 words in one sitting last night and enjoyed every last minute. We can do this.
What do you think? Have you experienced anything like this?