Being a writer can be exhausting. First, you put your heart and soul into a piece that you aren’t even sure anyone will “get.” Then you spend months, often years, trying to convince editors and publishers that they should love your characters as much as you do. And after you finally get that contract, what’s the reward for all that hard work? You get to start again. Ugh.
Most of the time, I relish in the “starting again” part; it’s new characters, a new story, a new voice to be heard, but sometimes… I’m just tired. Sometimes there’s so much else going on in my life that one more ‘NO’ makes it hard to remember why I started writing in the first place. If you can relate to that, you need this article. I’ll show you how to keep going. How to keep doing the thing that you love called writing, and how to actually start loving it again.
Back to Basics
When your computer is dragging, pages aren’t loading right or freeze altogether, what do you do? You reboot it.
“When the computer has too many tasks to run – or a set of physical events occur in a sequence that the software writers weren’t expecting – then tasks can get “stuck” in memory. Computer scientists talk about a “deadly embrace” that occurs when task A is waiting for task B to do something, and task B is waiting for task A to do something, causing them both to get stuck.”
Writers run in to this same issue and need to reboot too to wipe away these “stuck” moments. Moments like these.
- You sent off manuscript A and are waiting for editors A, B & C to reply. You get stuck.
- You wrote draft A of your novel, but can’t seem to get through edit B. You’re stuck.
- Agent A requested a copy of your manuscript, but then rejected it. You’re not confident what changes to make before sending it out to Agent B. You get stuck.
This is only the tip of the iceberg of situations that writers run in to that get us stuck. Once you know you’re stuck, you have to know how to reboot too.
How to Reboot
Find what’s making you stuck and turn it off… for awhile.
Is the submission process causing you stress and keeping you from writing consistently? Maybe it’s time to reboot by not submitting for a time. Just write.
If that’s not your stress, take some time to figure out what is causing you to get stuck and find a way to take a break from it. Maybe it’s editing? Marketing your book? Building your platform? Or doing school visits? Keep looking ’til you find the root of your rut. The break from it doesn’t have to be long, some parts of the writing process are essential, but all of them can be sacrificed, even if can only be for a short time.
Not sure what’s making you stuck? Try this exercise. Set a timer for 5 minutes and write non-stop. Don’t worry about it being coherent. It doesn’t need to make sense. No one but you will see it. Write every thought, every word that comes in your head, answering this question: What’s hard about being a writer? When the timer goes off, read through your thoughts and you’ll find your answer in there.
Some times things are so out of whack that you need to start fresh. For myself, I found myself focusing all my energy in to writing picture books and text for younger children, when my heart was really in writing middle grade. I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t loving writing anymore and it’s because I was forcing myself to write in a genre that wasn’t where I felt most complete.
For my reboot I gave up writing picture books all together and only wrote middle grade until I felt balanced and happy writing again. Now I can occasionally write a short story or picture book text when it comes to me, but I always go back to my middle grade roots for the bulk of my writing time.
“If he could still sense that spark of excitement and love in their voice then he knew they’d make it.”
Remember why your started
A therapist once said they could tell if a marriage was going to survive by asking his clients to talk about how they met their spouse. If he could still sense that spark of excitement and love in their voice then he knew they’d make it. Do you still feel that about writing? If you do, don’t give up on it. Find what’s making you stuck, take a break, reboot and fall in love with writing all over again.