Back in November 2015 I found myself at an all time low with my writing. Things were bad. I was struggling to write anything and it was one of the darkest times of my writing career. Looking back now I don’t know how I managed to write a blog post each day, let alone slave away at the third draft of a novel.
The reason for this bleak writing phase was that my mind was focused too much on a writing destination and not on the actual writing journey.
Let me explain. Back in November I was obsessed with becoming a published author. Yes I know this is amusing but the daydream took over my blonde brain. Damn that sparkly and intoxicating published author daydream! Sigh!
It was all I thought about. Day and night I would use up valuable energy dreaming about getting published. I then grew impatient with myself for not having a completed manuscript and this led to frustration.
Writing became a chore. I wanted to be agreeing publishing deals, swanning about bookshops asking uninterested customers if they want a selfie with a published author and buying a wardrobe full of designer tweed. I did not want to be sat chained to my kitchen table hammering out a story I was barely interested in.
For most of November I was emotional, stroppy and fed up. I had become so preoccupied with one particular writing destination that I stopped enjoying the journey.
In December things came to a head. After a big emotional outburst (tears, door slamming, stomping, a lot of sarcastic comments and an attempt at writing some dark and depressing poetry) I decided to forget about writing destinations and to start enjoying my writing journey again. Sometimes you just have to lock that sparkly daydream away at the back of your mind.
So in order to start enjoying my journey again I took these steps:
- I decided to follow my heart and only write things that made me feel happy. I put the third draft of my novel away as I realised that I had started to hate it. I binned the dark and depressing poetry too.
- I made a story bucket list of all the genres and concepts I want to explore. I closed my eyes and chose one at random – something from the Vampire genre. So I started writing down some ideas.
- I released myself from my own self limiting beliefs i.e. “you shouldn’t write comedy, you should write thrillers” – I started writing stuff that appealed to me.
- Every time I thought about being a published author I quickly swapped it in my mind for something I was going to write about that day.
- I became more mindful about my daily writing process and I started appreciating the little stuff like a quiet house when writing, the excited feeling I get just before I start and having a head full of characters, all talking at once.
- I gave myself a break from blogging during December. I simply refreshed and re-blogged a load of my old posts from 2014. It worked.
- I joined Wattpad and Instagram as I wanted to start interacting with readers and have some fun.
I entered 2016 a happier writer. I was focused on my writing journey again.
Looking back now I know I wasn’t ready to get into the world of publishing and I am glad I didn’t. The last few months have been the most valuable and enjoyable as a writer.
Sometimes we have to forget about our destination and enjoy the journey!
Let me know whether you have experienced anything similar?