My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

When It All Gets A Bit Too Much

Writing.

It’s an overwhelming business, you know.

If you ask someone who doesn’t write, their image of a writer at work, would be someone surrounded by books, a computer or paper to hand, tapping on a keyboard, or scribbling ideas down furiously.

Or gazing out of the window at a picturesque writers retread, pencil at the ready for any ispiration that might hit.

Or that other chestnut, the writer taking up a table at the local coffee shop, empty cups strewn across said table, and laptop set up, ready for that literary greatness to fill the screen.

Yes.

That’s it.

That’s exactly how all those books out there came to fruition.

A few hours or days to write or type, and a perfect story is created, ready for publication.

NOT!

The writing journey, along with the subsequent editing process, is an arduous one. And though you may spend a lot of it on your bottom, you use up your mental energy more than you realise.

When I decided to really ramp up the writing of my first draft, I used the month of August in 2017 and created my own mini #RiNoWriMo, as November and #NaNo WriMo is beyond me, what with being a teacher in my other life.

So August, that sacred month for teachers, where you get time off, was sacrificed for my writing.

And write, I did!

But I didn’t know how much writing 2,500+ words a day would take out of me.

I started back to school in September an emotional wreck. Not the best way to start the academic year, I’ll have you know. Although pushing myself to write hit word count goals, it zapped me of any energy, and the ability to function emotionally for a few weeks. Writing had become too much.

And the draft still wasn’t finished. I wondered whether this writing malarkey was really for me?

So when I decided that this August, two years on, would be my month for editing, I had to keep my emotional wellbeing in mind too.

#RiNoEdMo has nearly come to a close, and I have worked my pudgy behind off (not literally, because if I had, that would be wonderful, but I digress…) to go through this manuscript with a fine tooth comb. It took me 10 days to finish the first of my ‘final’ edits.

Once it was off to beta readers, I sat back with a light heart, and one heck of a headache.

That mental tiredness had kicked in. It had officially become too much.

Bitmoji Image

So, I scheduled time for me, time with my children and family, time to read.

And, yes, I have revisited my draft, as and when feedback drips in, tweaking easy bits, but I have put it on the back burner so I can get back into my other life mindset. (I hate to call it real life, because writing is part of my real life too, it’s just my alter-life… By day wife, mother and teacher. By night writer and sleeper.)

One week until school beckons to me. One week to get some of that r’n’r. One week to maybe add a few more tweaks Stop it woman, you are meant to be resting!

I have compiled a list of things I do to help me get that ‘me’ time as well as being as productive as possible, within a short timespan.

  • Take regular breaks and hydrate.
  • Give yourself a time limit for how long you will spend on your manuscript every day.
  • Treat yourself when you reach a goal. A bubble bath, a manicure, a drink…
  • If your head hurts, listen to it, and step away for a while.
  • Always have a good book handy to read as a reward.
  • Plan a day out.
  • Change the scenery around you – write in the garden one day, on your bed on another, take your laptop for a trip to a different place. It’s as refreshing as a break.

All little things, but they do help to keep your wellbeing from sinking, as you swim through the ocean of Getting That Book Out There.

Do you have any other advice for keeping sane while writing and editing?

56 thoughts on “When It All Gets A Bit Too Much”

    1. Thank you, Jim. I have worked out when I can give a project my best attention. It means that term time, I can’t really sink my teeth in to writing projects, but I blog more then, as that is an easier write for me. The manuscript needs more constant attention for blocks of times, so I try and factor that time into my school holidays. Of course, if there is something itching to be written, or edited, I do find the time!
      It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but determination gets you everywhere!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh, I’m sorry, Sis!
    I am a master in procrastinating. πŸ˜‰ It always helps me to postpone the deadline for completion, so that the psychological time pressure is gone, and: It working in time. Where are the curls? πŸ˜‰ These are the antennas for imagination. Lol All the best, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you are doing Well! This morning I’ve tried reading with the kids. Massive huge fail. We now have cushions over the decking, dirt being fed to teddies… kids don’t want to read they want to play.. they are now back on their bikes and I’m about to mow the lawn. My novel right now is an evening job.. the kids keep screaming.. oh they are adorable! But I’m tired!
    You are honestly doing amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Take time to refuel. When our creative well is dry, we need to fill it with observation and experience. Maybe an online workshop or maybe an art project that has nothing to do with writing. Inspiration is all around us, but I find when I become too tunnel-visioned, I cannot see what lies on the periphery. Sit back and take stock of all you HAVE accomplished!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so impressed that you are able to juggle teaching, family life, blogging and produce a manuscript too! Congratulations! I love your ‘me time’ list. For me, getting outside to garden or take a walk, visit a local park and soak in nature is always therapeutic.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is important not to overwhelm yourself. But easier said than done. When I am on a project I cannot rest until I reached my set goal. It is not because I am so stubborn or addicted. But like you, time is rare and once we are into it we want to pull it through. Stopping and taking a break will need a new approach which takes time again. And of course, we are so excited and want to see our baby developing, right? I think I am definitely the wrong one to ask… lolπŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Relate to this at the moment. It’s one of our busiest time at work as we are in recruitment for September sixth form joiners. Then the term beckons. Sigh, wish I could retire. Lol. Wishing my life away to escape work so I can write/blog more! Try to rest, Ritu. I’ve been doing a little tai chi every evening to relax. Even a little down time helps. πŸ™‚ x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My memoir is in the queue for publishing, a good thing. But now I’m into marketing. Today proceeded by fits and starts: waiting for a group to schedule a book signing (or not), an email invitation to dozens gone wonky.

    Then I saw your blog post on Facebook. The title brought me here. And now I’m going to relax in a Epsom salts bath. Yes, it all is getting a bit too much, even after a Pilates class today!

    I’m not sure what sanity is these days. I just want to get through this . . . successfully, I might add. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Marian, I sympathise!
      I hope your signing get sorted out though. I know it’s all important, but the most important thing is YOU. If you aren’t firing on all cylinders, how will you get anything accomplished?
      Well done for taking a bath and giving yourself time πŸ€—

      Like

  8. I am going to use your “breaks list” as a guide for this weekend as I overdo myself preparing for my first class–NEXT WEDNESDAY, HOORAY!. I obviously am experiencing an adrenalin rush and will be actually exhausted on the first day if I don’t slow down.
    Although I have a student and then teach Sunday School this weekend, I am going to plan in some “me time” to slow down and get control of “things/myself.” LOL
    Thanks for the tips, let’s hope they work for us “driven types” as well as for writers!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Excellent goals, Ritu. I think it takes going through the whole process to truly understand what it takes and how to prioritize. I put my book aside for a year, because… well, you know. I pulled it out today, and can finally see it with new eyes. Rest, family time, and all those important things help writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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