If there was ever a year to give up and hide in your blanket fort, 2020 was it. This year brought isolation, fear, grief and uncertainty. I lost my Dad, a close friendship, and learned to handle bad reviews on my books. I wanted to quit. And I did quit for a few months. After some deep reflection and some self-care, I’m back at it working on next year’s releases. Here’s the steps I took to shake off defeat and grief and dive back into my passion~writing. I hope this helps anyone who is struggling.
- Take a Break– Don’t be afraid to walk away. When your emotions are high and unstable, pushing through isn’t always the answer. Get a different perspective and take time for yourself. It’s okay to put your writing aside. It’s okay to focus on other things in your life, like your mental wellbeing. Immerse yourself in a hobby. Read a book. Go for long walks or chill in your blanket fort. That’s what your blanket fort is for-retreats from life. If you allow yourself to step back and erase all writing expectations and deadlines, you have a chance to sit in your emotions and process them without feeling like you’re wasting time or abandoning your dream. It’s still there, but on hold. And you’ll return when you’re ready, better than before because of the space and healing you allowed yourself.
- Journal– Yes, this is writing, but it’s different. Put your emotions on paper. I did this when I lost a friendship. It took seven months of journaling but I worked out my emotions and came out stronger. And I have one great story idea that emerged from the experience.
- Ignore Reviews– This is important. Nothing derails a writer’s confidence like lousy reviews. And I had plenty. But, I also had plenty of good reviews. In fact, the good outweighed the bad. When I received several bad reviews from one book club my confidence shattered. I was already at a low point emotionally due to my losses in the spring and this drove me overboard. Don’t let that happen to you. Reviews, no matter how bad, are for the reader, not the author. Don’t read them. Don’t vent about them. Don’t let them into your headspace. If someone didn’t like your book, they aren’t your audience.
- Remember why you write– Why did you start writing? Do you want to keep writing? Does it bring you joy? Then get back to writing for yourself, not others. You have stories only you can tell.
- Just Write– After you’ve taken your break, journaled and processed your emotions and reminded yourself why you write, just write. Get back into it and keep going. Don’t give up. Somewhere, there’s an audience that will love your books. Find them. And if you need to write in your blanket fort with a glass of tea and cookies, that’s okay. That’s my favorite place to write.
Alaine Greyson lives in Maryland with her husband, son and two crazy dogs. She writes romance and women’s fiction dealing with controversial issues like addiction and infidelity. Find her books here: http://rb.gy/3asm1t