Creative Writing 101,  Facts of Life,  Indie Author Life,  Writing Journey,  Writing World

Dear Writer: Be Nice To Yourself

It feels we oftentimes expect change to come sweeping down in an obvious fashion. A handsome knight on a unicorn. An epiphany that hits us hard in the grocery store and shakes us. The reality is that it sneaks up on you before dawn. Completely silent. Completely invisible.

So, last month I put the final touches on my next book that’s coming out in less than two weeks! Since then, I haven’t done much writing. I thought maybe I had Stage Fright. After all, that’s a very real thing, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I always want to do better than the previous story. Push myself harder. Dig deeper. Be better. And that kind of thinking can be paralyzing.

But then I realized…I was just tired. Editing is a lot of work, and I often get so caught up in how much I love the damn thing, that I forget how much work goes into getting a book together. Which is actually a good problem to have when I think about it. So, after I realized this, I just gave myself permission to chill. Because we need downtime sometimes, and I’ve done a terrible job of relaxing of late.

Plus, writing a book is taxing. I can refill the creative well with awesome fiction or awesome television and movies, but that won’t happen if I don’t partake in that downtime, ya know.

But more than just being kind when it comes to taking a breather, we should also be kind to ourselves when it comes to getting feedback on our work. I’ve had several times when I’ve gotten feedback or editing notes and beat myself up over obvious mishaps. But in truth, that’s not necessary. It’s impossible to find all those things without help. I’m way too familiar with the story. I end up glossing over things on multiple occasions, only to have someone else point out something so obvious it’s embarrassing. But that’s why we get feedback.

And to add on to getting feedback, compassion should extend to getting reviews on our work, as well. Everything isn’t for everyone. Even Harry Potter isn’t for everyone, though I will maintain forever that those people are missing out! True, it’s a relief when the first reviews come in and they aren’t telling me jump off a cliff, and it’s a relief to get beta and editing notes back and see that I don’t have to start over from scratch. But it’s a bigger relief to know that I would keep writing regardless. Because I’ve gotten terrible feedback before and kept writing anyway.

The writing journey is a journey. I’m going to have stories I try to tell too soon, stories that don’t make it to the editing rounds because they’re too terrible, stories that take longer to write or edit than usual, and any number of other things. At least one of my books has a cover that doesn’t accurately represent the genre it’s in. I’m not going to throw any of my books under the bus, because I love them all, but it’s true. Getting the branding right is a journey, too. And that is on my end, because if my cover designer doesn’t have the genre right and I don’t correct her, it’s my fault. The same goes with the promotion companies I work with. It’s my job to make sure everyone has the genre right, because contrary to popular belief, not everyone reads the blurb before they pick up the book. I’ve been guilty of that several times myself.

But I’m not going to beat myself up about anything at this point. It’s a journey. Live and learn.

And to veer away from writing for a moment, if I want to sleep all day on Sunday, it’s okay. I used to beat myself up for being tired and wanting to take a nap. How much sense does that make? It makes none. If I’m tired, I need more sleep. Period. Speaking of, if I’m cramping and need more sleep, that is also fine.

So, in this in-between time between the previous book and the next, if all I want to do is read and get lost in a Netflix show…no guilt. ^_^

I may not always be able to think positively about something, but I want to remember to be nice to myself. After all, there really isn’t a benefit to flogging oneself.

On a random note, I found this on my computer the other week and thought it was fitting. And funny.


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