By the time you read this, it will likely be Monday morning or even later in the week. But as I’m writing it, it’s Sunday night. It’s late. Very, very late. I’m very, very tired. I have hours of work left to do for the day job and have to be ready to run a meeting at 8AM, then get through a long day, then a longer week.
Some days, weeks, even months are like that for a some of us. And for most of us hanging out here at the blog, we’ve chosen to add another big stressor to our lives: we’ve decided to spend our ‘free time’ writing. Some days I do ask myself, ‘What the hell are you thinking?’
And it’s not just about the time and energy writing takes. It’s about having so much to learn and so far to go. About spending years working on a project and wondering if you’ll ever finish it, let alone contend with endless revisions that will follow the first draft. There are black moments (not just in the story, but in the writing day, as well), and disappointment when you realize no matter how hard or how long you work on a story, it will never live up to the shiny nugget of perfection that it was long before you committed it to paper, when it was just that glorious idea living in your head.
And if you do withstand the trials and tribulations of the writing life and manage to send a completed, revised, edited work out into the world, the focus turns to marketing (traditional or self-pub, these days self-marketing is the name of the game). Then there are reviews and sales numbers and trying to get coveted spots on booklists or review blogs or whatever thing writers must have/do/accomplish this week to be a publishing success. Seriously, how are we not all exhausted, all the time?
Luckily for us, there are places to turn when these dark days of pondering the difficulty of the writing life are upon us. This blog is one place. Chuck Wendig’s blog is another. Last week, he posted a helpful list of 10 things we writers can do to take care of ourselves. If you haven’t read it yet, hie thee to this link and do so now.
Life is stressful. Writing is stressful. The two together are stressful2, which is literally exponential. Which sounds really bad. So take care of yourself. Find something that helps you get through a really tough week/month/lifetime, whether it’s the writing getting you down, or the inability to get through all the life stuff to get to the writing.
This week, for me, my self-care something is a list. Not just any list. A list of all the things I’ll do when the next few months of day-job hell are over. A list of things to write/revise/rework, to be sure. But also a list of books I’m going to read, TV shows and movies I want to binge-watch, new fitness challenges I plan to undertake, and new recipes I’d like to try. My list might even include some trips I’m going to take when I can reclaim my weekends and some vacation time.
When I’ve gotten through the tough weeks, have caught up on sleep, and have done some of the fun things off my list, I’ll get back to the writing. In the meantime, I’m just getting through the Monday blues, and taking care of myself the best I can. What self-care things are you doing for your writer’s soul this week?