Lately I’ve been a little frustrated with my own writing progress. I’m still in the enviable position of being able to make my own deadlines, but the flip side of that is that I can procrastinate endlessly with minimal consequences. Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on ways to give myself more time and motivation to write. I’ve decided that the best thing to do for the time being is step back from this blog a little. I am going to be slowing down the posting schedule pretty significantly. I’m not sure what the new schedule will be, or if I’ll be sticking to this format.
A little more about my thought process behind this decision, and about how I am trying to take better care of myself:
When I started this blog back in December, I meant for it to serve my writing. It was a way to build a platform and gather an audience, but also an opportunity to work on my short-form writing. Blogging would be a welcome break from noveling.
I didn’t know what the blog was going to be, in terms of content. I had a general idea—I wanted to write about books, definitely, but also have the flexibility to discuss writing or food or whatever else I was working on at the time.
Now, five months later, I’m still not sure what it wants to be. I don’t feel like I’m creating the kind of content I would want to read, which means it’s time to step back and figure some things out.
One thing has become clear: this blog, as I originally envisioned it, is a huge time commitment. Researching, writing, editing, posting, and promoting a post can take up a whole morning or afternoon. That’s a potential day and a half of my workweek lost from fiction writing time.
When I first decided that I wasn’t going to teach this year, I had so. Many. Goals. There is an actual page in my journal from the end of August where I wrote down all the stuff I was going to do in the next twelve months. It’s kind of funny to look at now. Not only was I going to finish my novel, I was going to do it in a very short amount of time, writing for a lot of hours every day. In between that, I was going to get SO MUCH BETTER at all the other stuff I do. Run faster, practice instruments more, keep the apartment clean, crochet a ton of blankets, learn to speak Italian. Then I tossed the blog on top of that.
I was ambitious, which is not a bad thing! But I have a lifelong tendency to overload myself. It usually works out okay for about a month. “This is great!” I tell myself. “I’m creating art and enriching myself, this is what I’m meant to be doing.” Then, I start to get tired, or I’m not progressing as much as I think I should be. Angry at this show of human weakness, I push myself harder, which leads to burnout. Eventually I freeze up, terrified of failure, and do nothing, which is the worst possible outcome.
I was getting pretty close to the freeze-up-and-nothing stage not long ago, and here’s what I’m doing to prevent that from happening:
- I hired a cleaning service to take care of our bathrooms, floors, kitchen, and dusting. Having a clean, organized space to work and live in is so so important to me, but I am very bad at keeping it that way on my own. I know hiring someone to clean isn’t an option for everyone, but I can afford it right now and it’s already doing wonders for my mental health. Two professionals take two hours to do what would take me two weeks.
- I’m waking up earlier. Or, more accurately, I’m actually getting out of bed when the alarm goes off instead of just snuggling back down and playing on my phone for an hour plus. Seriously, that’s become way too much a part of the routine. Deleting a bunch of apps and not sleeping with the phone right next to me helps, too.
- I’m going to spend less time working on this blog, as discussed above.
None of this is to say that I haven’t enjoyed this blog. It’s been so much fun. I love hearing from people who are reading it. I treasure the discussions I’ve had, online and off, that started from posts here. When I see that one of my friends has added a book on Goodreads after I review it here, it fills my heart, it really does. Yelling about The Magicians was really fun, like so fun I am actually contemplating buying the DVDs so we can yell about the extras together (I haven’t bought a DVD since 2012, the last one was City of Lost Children). After I wrote this, my husband’s aunt and uncle sent us a box of Godiva hot chocolate mix, which was honestly the best and nicest thing. Not that I’m saying I need people to send me presents in order for an endeavor to be worthwhile, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
That’s why this isn’t goodbye, it’s just the beginning of a bit of a transition. Hopefully on the other side, there will be more, better content for you to read, and also a novel full of words and characters and a plot by yours truly. Keep in touch in the meantime, and thanks for reading!