I subscribe to STANDOUTBOOKS.com where I get to read some great, short articles. Short is good for my schedule and great means that sometimes I find words that I can share with you. This is a fun site that provides author services for writers and publishers. You can sign up for lots of free information at their blog and I encourage you to do that. Go to STANDOUTBOOKS.COM!
“You Haven’t Failed Until You Quit Trying” is the name of their Aug 19 blog. Now, I don’t personally know any writers who haven’t thought of giving up writing at least once. Many of us have considered it on more than one occasion. And while these tips aren’t new, since I’ve recently run into a rash of “I’m done” writers of late, here are a few tips to consider:
- There are no guarantees in life except that none of us are getting out of it alive. So, now that’s clear – if you keep writing, keep revising and keep submitting, you’re bound to reach some level of success. So – if it isn’t any fun anymore, it’s probably time to rest up and refocus – but maybe not quit all together!
- Taking breaks from all that we do is important. Moms and Dads need a break. Caregivers need a break. Most employees get a vacation, or at least a long weekend break now and then. Writing is hard work and writers need a break, too. Could be days, weeks or months but it doesn’t matter. Until you can face writing with a grin instead of a grimace, stay away.
- Find something that’s fun and/or energizing to do. Maybe it’s volunteer somewhere, start a home or art project or commit to spending more time at the beach, but whatever
“floats your boat” go do that for a while. I’ve got a writing buddy who puts together massive jigsaw puzzles when she needs a break. They take her months to do, then she uses magic glue of some sort and coats them, mats and frames them and sells them at the church bizarre twice a year. Then she goes back to writing the rest of the time. Several multi-published NYT authors that I know schedule time completely away from home for a month or six weeks, to visit with family and friends after their final manuscript is accepted and before the road trips begin.
- Develop your own “wellspring” of writing ideas using the many social media boards, like Pinterest, Tumblr, etc. Start a gallery of images that YOU like and watch it grow. Visit there regularly to be inspired by those images.
- Twenty years ago, I had authors tell me this tip and still today, some of that group gets together a couple of times a year for MOVIE DAY. It’s entertainment, camaraderie, good food and good fun. I’ve learned a ton about story structure from those gatherings over the years. And, have been inspired to write my way out of a bad story line a time or two, as well.
- Read or listen to a book you wanted to read, but never found the time for!
- Take a walk in the woods or on the beach, go kayaking or sailing, visit the zoo or botanical gardens – do something outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. There is scientific evidence that being outdoors is mega good for us!
- Offer to help someone else with something. Might be the local pantry stocking food for those in need, or pushing a wheelchair at the hospital one day a week, or tutoring a student in need, maybe? Whatever tugs at your heart to do, it’s a sure thing that if you go do it, you’ll not only feel great about it and make a difference for someone else, you’ll end up hearing a terrific story.
Every writer I know has experienced this at some time or other. It can be burnout, or flame-out, or just plain overload. I can tell you that if you give yourself the gift of time away from the keyboard, typewriter or yellow pad, chances are at the right time, that new, exciting and intriguing story will begin to blossom and you’ll be back to it – recharged and delighted to pen those words once again! Not to worry.
To everything there is a season….NQ