Writing is a vocation.
You may have to keep reminding yourself of this. Especially when you want everything — money, writing projects, publishing success — to go faster.
I read a guy’s blog this week where he talked about burn-out. He was so determined to get a novel finished he wrote 16 hours a day for about three weeks. He said that suddenly he couldn’t make out the words on the screen. He was looking at a foreign language and he realized his brain had shut down.
The experience frightened him so much that he stopped writing and suffered a long period — over six months — of angst over what had happened.
For a long time he was too afraid to start writing again for fear that his mind would play this trick on him again.
Luckily that’s not happened to me yet. Sounds awful.
The worst thing that happened one year was that I got one of those humps on my right wrist — apparently they’re caused by hitting the keyboard too hard for too long. It took a few weeks of gentle typing for it to go down.
It didn’t hurt. I just looked deformed for a while. A friend suggested hitting it with a book — he said he’d heard that was the way to make them go back down. Not being a fan of pain, I declined his offer to fix it and trusted nature instead.
I’ve never had it again — since I started using laptops.
I guess the point is that you can just push yourself too hard sometimes. I know that, say, Olympic athletes need to train for hours every day. I know that soldiers train hard every day to reach optimal strength, mindset and efficiency.
But what about more cerebral pursuits?
Clearly it’s possible for the brain to be overstimulated — leading to mental breakdowns and, at the very least, stress.
Most writers agree that bouts of excessive writing can be physically draining. Even the most prolific writers don’t recommend more than four or five hours max a day. It’s fairly well accepted that much more and you’re really in no condition to give it your best.
As writers we must learn patience.
Waiting on publishers is challenging. It’s the main topic of conversation at the writer’s groups I attend. It’s also one of the reasons I recommend self-publishing. Even if only to act as a stopgap, so writers have at least a chance of making money from our work while waiting around for agents and publishers to take notice of us.
Plus, increasingly, the publishing world requires ‘proof’ that readers want our work. What better way to showcase our novels, books and writing than on Amazon? We can get feedback, reviews and testimonials — not to mention actual sales of our work to readers.
Plus of course there’s the added benefit of feeling like a published author — which will seriously help your self esteem and hopefully boost your commitment to writing regularly.
Because writing needs to become a habit, especially if you want to one day do it full time — the dream!
You need to pace yourself. Live well but healthily. Keep your moral, mental and physical strength up and commit to writing every day.
In this age of ‘I want it now’, it may seem frustrating to have to wait for anything. But for the writer, this is often the reality.
Fact is, it’s always been this way. Nothing’s changed.
Except now we can at least publish ourselves on the Net while we’re waiting for the call from Random House or Harper Collins. (Anytime, guys — honestly, I’m here all day, just waiting!)
And did I mention publishing with Amazon is free?
Plus you keep all the rights?
No contracts, no catches and no fees.
Just a professional platform to showcase your work.
Oh and, in case you’re interested, you make money too!