The Importance of Writing Communities and a Big Thanks to Angela Highland

It doesn't matter what field you're in, having a support system is essential. It's the equivalent of the teacher who is a part of a union, has mentors, makes connections via trainings/conferences, and, in my case, possesses a supportive administration. That type of help gives you a greater chance to succeed and encourages you to keep going when challenges arise. 

That's why I'm thankful for writing communities.

The NanoWriMo community (short for National November Writing Month) is especially helpful. All the writers who use the month of November to catapult new projects into the atmosphere or finish existing manuscripts, support each other all year round. Writing is a process and encouragement, motivation, and dialogue will keep you going. That leads me to Angela Highland.

Click on the excerpt to go to Angela Highland's post

Click on the excerpt to go to Angela Highland's post

In the previous post, I mentioned my plan to combat writer's burnout. Today, a writer by the name of Angela Highland responded to my cry for help with the post above. 

It's one thing to talk yourself out of throwing your manuscript into a lit fireplace (although I don't have one of those), but it's another thing to hear from a fellow writer that your burnout concerns are normal. We've all been there. And you know what? There's nothing wrong with taking a break, reading a book, or working on another project.

Sometimes, I feel we push ourselves so much, we don't know when it's time to just step back and say, "It's okay to take a break." Your mind, body, AND spirit will probably thank you for the rest.

That's exactly what I'm telling myself. I'm not going to completely abandon my project, but what I am going to do is give myself a chance to

Fall in love with my craft all over again. 

My Plan for Fighting Writer Burnout

I'm painfully aware that perfection can't be rushed. Ok, I know nothing is perfect per se, but that's not the point. The point: when you're like me and you're on your FOURTH rewrite knowing good and full well that it needs some additional tender loving care, well, it's enough to make you bang your head against the wall. 

Me right about now. Source & photo: Thebarkpost

Me right about now. Source & photo: Thebarkpost

How on earth can I stay interested and not be annoyed to pieces staring at the same words day in and day out? How can I prevent myself from walking towards an incinerator (or a fire-lit garbage bin in this case) and toss my once beloved manuscript into the point of no return? The only thing I can immediately do is what will provide me instant relief:

Take a deep breath and step away from the work in progress. That's number one. 

I've worked hard, I've labored, and I need to take time to relax, relate, and release. Then, I can only assume my next moves are the following (in no particular order might I add):

1. Read, read read -- getting lost in good books will hopefully remind me of that deep desire to pen my own masterpiece. I can also consider jotting notes about why I like certain material.

2. Conduct a book analysis or self-assessment. What are the highlights of my book that I want to keep? What needs work? 

3. Map out all of the weaknesses and brainstorm how to strengthen each item.

4. Create character analysis for my book characters. The more I know them, the more real they will seem, which will make the writing come naturally. 

5. Tweak my outline. (I have nothing for a pantser; perhaps create an outline from what you actually wrote?)

6. Write one scene at a time.

Yes, I want to roll my eyes at the thought of jumping into this bad boy again, but I have to. After all, rushing through this makes zero sense if it won't end up the way I want it to. So, until I get some better advice, I'm about to follow my own. Because ya'll, I'm ready to get back on Launch a Bestseller. I do. And I can't launch anything if I don't have a book I'm satisfied with that's actually ready to go. 

With that said it's off to step number one which is read, read, read. On deck: Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events. I just so happened to catch the series on Netflix and must say I've been pleased. I figured I would give the books a try. Until next time:

                                       #KeepWriting

Thankful Thursday #7: My Journal Collection

I've always had a journal since I was in elementary, but it wasn't until the year 2005 when I started making a conscious decision to collect my journals.

A journal I just finished.

A journal I just finished.

That's practically 12 years of documentation. My ups. My downs. My revelations. My pity parties. My growth.

Why is this significant? Welp, I wholeheartedly believe that documentation is essential. There are days, especially as a creative, when you feel down, unworthy, not good enough, and every other negative feeling. Journals, diaries, notes, or whatever you want to call it show you how far you've come. A journal is a gratitude book. It shows you that pain and other challenges are temporary. That although you grow up and mature, you still have those childhood dreams that excite you. 

Inside my journal. I need to fill in the bottom line. My last entry was Wed. Jan 11, 2017. I started a new journal entry today.

Inside my journal. I need to fill in the bottom line. My last entry was Wed. Jan 11, 2017. I started a new journal entry today.

You know it's funny, when I start feeling stuck I'll read one of my journals and see some sort of confirmation. Maybe it's an idea I've had for years that I've put on the back burner or a warning not to pass up an obvious opportunity. It's also amazing to see how long I've procrastinated on doing what I've always desired -- write meaningful, well-penned books. In due time.

Until then, I'll keep writing my thoughts and documenting my life's journey. This blog is just another layer to that collection. I cannot wait to see what this will look like one year from now, 10 years even. Oh how things would probably be different. So spectacular and amazing, it'll probably be something beyond my wildest dreams. 

#KeepWriting