It's been a year...
It’s December, the last month of a pretty trying year, and the holidays beckon with their promises of mulled wine and eggnog, cheeks rosy from the cold, mittens, fuzzy slippers, Christmas jumpers, and twinkling lights.
It will make a nice change. Since January, lockdowns, being separated from my family, and trying to stay healthy was the name of the game. We did all right, though.
I kept in touch with my family in Sweden with lots of lengthy phone calls, and spent hours chatting with my daughter in Australia on FaceTime. We’ve made do because we had to, and to stay safe.
I’ve been working hard throughout the year, and in particular during the fall, on
my writing, and most recently on my Paranormal Romance. Right at the end of October, I finally wrote The End on the last page. It’s now waiting for me to put it through several rounds of edits.
As soon as that story was finished, November blew in, and with it NaNoWriMo. I enjoy taking part as it’s a way for me to hold myself accountable and really dig deep into a new story. This year, however, I decided to go rogue and dive into editing instead.
I had book four and five of The Sentinels waiting to be edited, so on the first day, I opened the 220k word manuscript and waded right in. Each chapter got overhauled twice, and on day twenty-four, I’d reached the epilogue.
By this time, I was pretty tired from both writing and editing. I hadn’t taken a break from any of it all year, and I could feel the energy drying up inside me.
So, what do you do when your energy levels are low, but you have a lot of work to get through, and you worry about falling behind your schedule?
To be honest, I can’t tell anyone else what to do, but I can tell you how I deal with it. Since I finished the self-edits on my massive wip, I’ve read a book or two, watched some TV, and listened to music. These are things I would do even when I was working on a story, but probably not with the same attention — certainly not the watching TV part.
Do I still feel the need to write and not be “lazy”? Yes, of course, I do. But I also know that if I try to push it too hard, I’ll only work slower and get stuck in plot holes, word choices, and the color of someone’s hair. All decisions that are easy to make when you feel rested, but seem like mountains to climb — okay, at least large hills — when you’re running on empty.
Giving yourself the permission to switch off and do something completely different can do a world of good, and allow you to get back into the swing of things quicker, and with renewed energy, when you feel ready to do so.
It’s never wrong to switch off, spend time with family, go out for lunch with a friend, watch the latest blockbuster movie at the theater, or do something — anything — that is just for you. In fact, it’s necessary and should be added to the writing/editing schedule as much as anything else.
So, this is what I did. I told myself not to edit, write, or plot out any storylines for as long as I felt the need to have a break. The only thing I have been working on, which is fun if a little frustrating, is graphics and topics for social media posts. I want to get this entire month’s worth done and scheduled so I can switch that off as well for the holidays.
And guess what? We’re going to Sweden for three weeks over Christmas and the
New Year! I will be able to hug my mom and dad, laugh and joke with my
brothers and sister-in-law, catch up with my nieces and nephew, and kiss my gorgeous, apple-cheeked great-niece for the very first time. She will be smooshed and squished to no end.
I can’t wait to go back home to re-balance, re-energize, and refill my heart and soul with everything that I’ve been missing for two years.
I love where I live, and have been very happy here for three decades, but Sweden is an essential part of my being, and I’ve missed its fresh air, expansive waters, and richly scented forests.
I need to be whole again.