Re-finding the fun

I'm one of those people who writes because I can't imagine not writing. When I'm not writing, I'm usually thinking about writing or what I will be writing when it's time to write.  As crazy as it may sound (especially no non-writers) the characters in my head eventually demand that I write them.  I joke that I work on the project with the characters who yell the loudest. 

With the writing comes the forums and the yahoo groups and the tweeting and the blogging...

But what happens when it gets to be too much? 

I'm not talking about what Ally Carter calls "The Crazies"  (though this can contribute to it).

I'm talking more about out-and-out fatigue -- tired of tweeting, tired of blogging, tired of editing, tired of trying to keep up, tired of feeling like you're not doing enough even though what you're already doing is making you tired.

When you're so tired writing isn't fun anymore because you're just too tired to enjoy it--and well, who has time to write, there's so much that needs to be done.

Recently life got hard (well, harder than usual).  I was already so tired and drained by everything, then when this came and smacked me upside the head, I just couldn't deal.

So I shut down. 

I didn't blog (exceptt for Steamed!, because my responsibility includes managing the guest posts and I don't want to let people down), I barely facebooked, when I twittered it was because I couldn't think ", I barely read any messages on my various and sundry loops and replied even less, I stopped keeping up on what was what. 

Even though I have a self-imposed deadline to finish editing my MG Elfpunk, I stopped.  I was waiting for feedback from beta readers and even though I *should* have been paring down the word count, I just couldn't face that MS anymore. 

Don't even get me started on those lesson plans I should be writing...

Writing, and all that stuff that goes with is, just wasn't fun anymore. 

And it ate at me, big time.
That can be a very bad thing -- especially when you have deadlines on the horizon. 

I was lucky that I wasn't in the middle of a deadline.  But I knew I needed to take care of this slump before those edits come. 

WHat I needed to do was re-find the fun. 

So...I decided to be daring and ignore those voices of fatigue and insecurity.

Even though I had tons to do -- editing, the lesson plans, the super sekrit project -- I swiped those aside and did something I hadn't done in a long, long time.

I decided to write something purely for fun -- something totally and utterly unsaleable that will probably never be read by another soul, but brought me great joy to write.

I worked on it during lunch. 

I worked on it during that precious time I sometimes have for writing in the evenings. 

I even worked on it during the weekend when I have time devoted to writing.

In fact, I didn't really write or edit anything else -- no the MG Elfpunk, not the lesson plans or the super sekrit project.  I didn't even do any serious blogging. 

I kept pulled back on all those social things and worked on this "for fun" project for three straight weeks.

It was so much fun to write something  where I didn't need to worry about whether or not it would be saleable, or if I had too much backstory, or too many characters, or if it would make sense to anyone but me -- because this story was for *me* and only for me.
Most importantly, I refuse to feel guilty that I could have used those three weeks (and that 45k) on some "useful" project. 

This project was useful -- for my soul. It went far in making me feel better about my writing, about myself, and easing that fatigue I'd been feeling. 

I'd re-found the fun.

The "for fun story" isn't finished, but that's okay.  It served it's purpose, which was to remind me why I write, and that if I can't be superwoman, it's *okay.* 

Perhaps I'll go back to it at some time--especially when I need a reminder of why I write. 

  I'm a writer -- not a social networker, the best thing I can do to promote myself is to write amazing books.  The rest is just gravy.  We have to have time to write, to sleep, and to spend time with those amazing people who are our friends and family. 

I'm starting to ease back into everything, but I'm focusing on just doing what I can--not what I can't.  If it doesn't get done, oh well.

I might even finish my MG by my self imposed deadline. 

As for those lesson plans...well, I think I'll start them today. 

So, what do you do to re-find the fun?


Josh said...

I've gone through a similar time a couple years ago, where I felt burnt out on my writing. I was highly discouraged I hadn't progressed as far or as fast as I wanted, and rejections kept making my attitude worse.

I ended up taking a couple months off and reevaluating why I really wanted to write. Did I do it because it was something I loved, or just because I wanted validation from agents, editors, etc.? Once I took a few steps back and gave myself room to breathe, reaffirmed why I wanted to be a writer in the first place, my passion for it returned and I started enjoying the process.

Julia Barrett said...

Between the demands of real life and the demands of promotion, I've been feeling totally overwhelmed, cuz all I wanna do is write! I ended up doing the same thing - writing something just for fun, tongue in cheek, and it's turning out to be marketable! Low and behold! Yeah, sometimes you just need that break.

Promotion is a killer - a real fun killer.

suzanne said...

Josh, I hear you, it can be really hard to remeber (or figure out) why we write.

Julia, I'm glad to hear I'm not alone.