I feel so much better now I finally understand there’s no need to worry if my author energy deserts me from time to time. Many, many writer friends – especially indie authors – have mentioned the need to refill the creative well, take a break, or even just “be in a funk” for a while.
On top of our writing, many of us are juggling family commitments, day jobs, and the desire to have some kind of life away from the keyboard. Sometimes, we push ourselves too hard to finish a book, or pick an unrealistically tight publication date, leading to a scramble to release a quality product. Then there are the days when we check our sales figures, or tot up our earnings for tax purposes, and wonder whether it’s all worth it. I know I experience a constant conflict of enjoying the writing and publishing process, but valuing my time more highly than just a few cents per hour.
In the face of these factors, it’s natural for your author energy to ebb and flow too.
Every so often, I resolve to keep on writing but treat it as a flexible endeavour, not a second job with an evil, finger-waggling boss (me). I think that’s a weakness of my personality type, that once I commit to doing something, I tend to push myself too hard. No wonder the pursuit of serenity is so attractive to me! And how foolish to ever have set my sights on constant productivity, without the necessary breaks to refresh and recharge.
Some have it far worse in terms of creative pauses. Harper Lee had a gap between books of 55 years. Marian Keyes has shared harrowing accounts of her battle with depression and inability to write. And J. K. Rowling found her creative energies zapped by litigation played out in the public sphere.
If you’re like me, tentatively returning to writing after some time away, you might find this article useful. It’s also a topic I explore in far more depth in my book, Indie With Ease. Personally, I find bribing oneself with cake to be highly effective too..!
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