It suddenly occurred to me today that I haven't written a single post here since July. My wonderful intentions to be a prolific writer while I was off work during the Summer months all went completely to pot whenever I found myself snowed under with other book work and falling asleep at my desk due to some difficult parenting issues and a child who has been unwell. Coping on little or no sleep for days on end really put an end to any creativity I had. My brain had left the building. Things still haven't improved too much on the sleep front and for a while I had to scale back on the book work and my writing. I even stopped writing in my journal! But, thankfully things are on the up again.
It's amazing how your body learns to cope with weeks and months of exhaustion. I have now reached the point where I can function ok on 2 hours sleep now. So, I have started writing again and taking on more book work. I feel great and realise that in actual fact stopping writing and scaling back on work were the stupidest things I did through it all. Now that I am writing again I feel rejuvenated and happy! If I had only forced myself to sit down in front of my laptop during those days when I thought my eyeballs were going to fall out, maybe things might have been different. I'm really enjoying taking on more book work again and feel buzzed about it all. What had I been thinking, stopping the 2 things in my life that brought me the most happiness!?
The one constant through it all has been my wonderful writing group. We started off as part of a group facilitated by our local library. However, over the Summer and, despite being promised a new facilitator come September we did find ourselves running the group and keeping it going. To be honest, I quite enjoy it but really do have to rein myself in sometimes as I know it often appears I am Ms Bossy Boots and trying to be the facilitator. We all contribute to the group in our own ways. Me.........I'm an organiser. I have organised for some lovely local writers to come to the group to talk to us. I research stuff and bring print outs and writing prompts that are probably boring the rest of the group to tears. But, they are very gracious and thank me politely. What they probably want to do is beat me round the head with the endless bundles of paper I throw at them. Thankfully they haven't yet! They are a super group of people.
Being part of a writing group has given me a new found confidence. Each time we meet we try to share something with the group that we have written. That means finding my story telling voice and letting the group listen to what I have written. It has got to be one of the most nerve wracking things I have ever done. Up to this point I have never shared my work with anyone. But, all my fellow writers in the group are as equally terrified as I am about sharing work. It is such a supportive group of people and I have made some lovely friends. The depth of talent within the group is amazing and I am often in awe of the skills they all possess. I only hope to be as good as they are one day.
One thing that I never got to be a part of this year has been NaNoWriMo and I am gutted as I have another idea for a book. Actually, I have two ideas! But, I am trying to be realistic. I am still working through editing the book I completed last year and it would be madness to take on another project with this one only half finished. My big wonderful Summer plans had been to finish the book so that I could take part in NaNoWriMo but of course that didn't happen. So, I am being gentle with myself. I'm managing to get to the library most Saturday mornings to work on the book. And while its not happening at break neck speed, it is happening. I still adore my book. It still makes me cry when I read it. I'm not ready to give up on it just yet! Plus, I have lots of author workshops to attend over the next few months and I am really looking forward to those. I am hoping they will provide me with more knowledge and skill around the writing process. My big goal for 2017 is to sign up to The New Writers Scheme with the Romantic Novelist Association so fingers crossed I manage to get onto the scheme. Then, I have no excuses not to finish the book as I will be on a deadline then!
With regards to the book work and blog tours......well I am now officially a part-timer in the day job! Work offered me a part time post a few minutes from my house and I almost bit their arm off! I've now got more time for my beloved book tours which I just love! All in all, life is good. So, the lesson learned throughout a stressful Summer is...............don't stop doing what you love because you are stressed as it only makes you more stressed!
I'd be really interested to hear how other writers work through times of stress or when life gets in the way.