Here we are, already at ROUND 2 for the year! Now’s the time for you to write up your goals post (on your own blog, remember) and link to it in the linky below.
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As you’re working on defining those goals, I want you to do something for me.
Remember to be kind to yourself.
I am a Type A, overachieving slavedriver. I’m incredibly goal oriented and driven, and I get more done in a day than some people do in a week. Which is all fine and good to a point, but I so often forget about taking some downtime, about resting, about recovery from Doing All The Things. Because there’s an inherent danger in this constant go go go go go.
These are realities of being a writer. Particularly a professional writer. We’ve got deadlines and fan expectations and all the business side of what we’re doing. It becomes so easy to stop thinking about the creative side of the process and start focusing on the numbers. To start thinking of ourselves as some kind of machine that can just crank stuff out at a certain pace, consistently.
This is folly.
There have been a number of blog posts written lately from some extraordinarily talented writers who are caught in the grip of depression. Libba Bray. Myra McEntire. Our own Dawn Montgomery wrote a post last round about suffering from burnout (which is, I think, a precursor to depression in a lot of writers). And I know half a dozen others who’ve skirted this state or slid into it over the last couple of years.
It’s something I suffered myself while on submission a few years ago and it paralyzed me. What I wrote was flat, emotionless, and unusable. I didn’t get anything publishable put together for TWO YEARS, and when I did come back to it, it took three drafts to come anywhere close to the quality of what I’d produced before. I spent a lot of time beating myself up about it. I was falling behind schedule. The writing income was falling off. And I felt the fetid breath of the hounds of desperation nipping at my heels.
Ultimately, I made some changes and decided to be kinder to myself. I revised my long term goals, my expectations and allowed for something I have never willingly accepted. A time to rest and a time to fail. Failure, as it happens, is a necessary component of mastery. I could write a whole other post on that, but I’ll save it for another time. My point is, I made the decision to be kinder to myself. To realize that for all that I’ve accomplished in the last ten years, I am not a machine. I’m not Super Woman. And that’s okay. It’s taken me most of the last year to heal from that, and I feel like I’m finally back on track, where I need to be. Now, if I need a day off, I take it. If I need to refill the well, I go read or watch something awesome. And then I come back to it. If I don’t reach the number of words I shoot for in a day, I don’t beat myself up over it. If I got ANY words down, that’s still further than I was before. And THAT is why I’m so much NOT a fan of one size fits all goals.
So as you’re pondering those goals and sorting out what you’d like to accomplish, remember to be kind to yourself and remember–you’re only human.