I absolutely know that being able to write novels for a living is a privilege and I’m grateful each and every day that I get to do what I do.
However, publishing is a strange industry to be in: lovely and friendly at times, but also cut-throat and occasionally hard on the self-esteem. After all, you’re basically setting yourself up for rejection with every word you write whether that’s your own inner critic, your agent or editor’s comments on a draft, or reader’s reviews.
It’s important to develop a thick skin if you’re going to stick it out as an author, but it isn’t always easy. So after having a bit of a bump in the road with my own writing mojo, I thought I’d share my top tips for getting through the tough times and preparing yourself for the good!
Feel those feelings!
Now, I’m not a therapist or anything like that, I’m purely speaking from experience here. But I do find it useful to take some time to acknowledge my feelings. This was something I discovered during the first lockdown in 2020. Pushing negative and scary feelings down doesn’t make them go away. Sometimes, they don’t go away at all! But what you can do is sit with them, acknowledge them and move on. Writing them down can be really useful too, especially if you take the time to drill down and figure out exactly what it is that’s bothering you.
Make a plan!
My novels are all plotted out, I have endless to-do lists for household tasks and even make a self-care to-do list every week. Lists and plans are my jam and they work well for me when I’m feeling lost. They’re like a roadmap to finding my way back and the best thing about them is they can cover anything! If you need to go to the opticians, make a hair appointment or contact the painter and decorator you’ve been meaning to for ages, make a list and start ticking off those jobs.
With a particular writing project take some times to list the things the are or aren’t working and what you need to fix. If you’re between projects or waiting on news, what else can you do to fill your time? Do you have social media to keep up with? Could you plan for after you have the news you’ve been waiting for?
The best things about lists and plans is you can make as many as you want and for me, this helps me deal with uncertainty as I’ve then got a plan for any occasion!
Get your body moving!
I love working out whether it’s restorative yoga or something more hardcore and no matter what I’m doing, or what’s happening in my life, there’s always a moment in every workout where I feel like I can do anything. It might be because I’ve worked a little harder, added an extra weight or an extra rep or stretched a little further. This feeling always transcends into my every day life too. I feel like if I can push my heart rate to the max I can deal with anything.
Moving your body, even if it’s just a gentle walk in the sunshine can clear your mind and remind you of what’s important, what’s really an issue and what isn’t and even on some occasions, solve that niggly plot point that’s been bothering you for weeks!
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