With the encroaching Christmas holidays, deadlines become a predominant factor in most of our minds. They add additional pressure to an already fraught time of year. Manifesting stress where it’s not needed, this is something I’m guilty of. I pile on extra jobs and beat myself up for not accomplishing each and every single one of them.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
On top of the extra demands of December: Shop, wrap, cook, clean, preen. We authors often juggle work, family, and the demands of writing, promoting, blogging and social media.
Realising how insane all of that sounds, I thought this week’s blog could help lighten the load by shinning a little comedy and sprinkle a few well-meaning quotes into the mix. Sit back and enjoy!
“At times, it is better to “just do it” than to “do it right”. One reason new year resolutions don’t work is that we expect too much from ourselves. Rush, meet your deadlines, you can always continue from where you stopped next year.” ― Asuni LadyZeal
“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor
“I love Christmas. I receive a lot of wonderful presents I can’t wait to exchange.” – Henny Youngman
“A deadline is a negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.”
― Rita Mae Brown
“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ― Diana Scharf
“If the novels are still being read in 50 years, no one is ever going to say: ‘What’s great about that sixth book is that he met his deadline!’ It will be about how the whole thing stands up.”
― George R.R. Martin
So my fellow writers, take a leaf from some of the greats and relax over the deadlines. By all means, keep writing and work towards your goals, but at the end of the day: Pop your pajamas on, watch a Christmas movie, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the festive season.
As always folks, thanks for reading. What sort of deadlines do you place on yourself at Christmas and how do you relax and unwind at the end of the day? Tell me all about it, you know I love to hear from you.
I’ve spent the past week learning new payroll software, filing VAT returns, writing GDPR policies for my 3 businesses and redeveloping the website for my welding and fabrication business. YAWN!
During that time I’ve missed writing. And yes, my sanity has suffered for it. I’m amazed to discover that even editing my MS helps my anxiety and stops me from plummeting into depression. And the more of my blogging community I discover and supportive you all are, the less embarrassed I am about my Complex PTSD.
So, without further ado here are my top 5 writing essentials I need for working on my WIP.
Tea and lots of it. A good old fashioned mug of builder’s brew and the stronger the better.
Peace and quiet. I can’t write with people around and I don’t have the luxury of an office or even a desk. As there’s just no room in my bungalow. And so I’ve commandeered the dining room table, it’s home to an extension lead, work files, lots of USB sticks, many notebooks and two laptops. One has an antiglare screen for working on my MS and the other has all the tedious software for running the other businesses.
Music. I know I just said peace and quiet – I guess I meant people. I usually play the radio or music channel. Anything with upbeat tunes. I use it as a motivator and a way to cancel out the unnecessary chatter of my mind. It focuses me. I’m listening to Coldplay’s – In a sky full of stars. I get to channel my voice through words, while dancing in my seat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
My dog. Pulling my attention away from my laptop and getting out in the fresh air is essential. It recharges my batteries and increases my creativity. Yes, I moan about taking my beagle Dexter out, but I always feel better for it. Particularly if I head to the beach or take a river walk.
Lastly, but most importantly is a functioning mind. I skirt a fine line between holding it together and tumbling into despair. And I can’t write when I’m depressed. While it’s not my fault I have psychological wounds or that I’m regularly triggered. Staying on top of the things that help me, is in my control. Things like, exercise, meditation, writing and therapy.
And I’m going to add a 6th. A cat because it’s finally time to bring another one into my life after losing Jasper. While I still hope he returns home, it’s been 8 months and this writer needs a kitten.
And so, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a sneak peek into my life. What’s your number one writing need. Share it with me, as I love reading about you too.
I’m a huge fan of positivity posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Pushing us to work towards our goals and chase our dreams. But sometimes it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To realise that our struggles don’t define us, but they do make us human.
Being a writer or any artist is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is???
Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.
First of all: Shoat out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us, juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family and all the pressures life brings is usually enough for mere mortals. We’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to building platforms, managing social media and actually writing a novel… or two. Congratulations, did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.
Next it’s a huge shoat out to writer parents. Whoop! Whether your children are young and need constant attention. Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Where we need eyes in the back of our heads. Or older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media mine-fields, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And that’s all dealt with in a morning.
When do we get to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.
Social life advocates: Bravo! I’m beginning to wonder if this is a rare breed of writer, because if you’re juggling either of the above, or like me – both, and you still have a successful social life: I’m wondering, do you only need two hours of sleep???
I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in my yoga class, maybe take up tai chi too and attend creative writing class. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook bloody food, clean dishes… You know the drill. You’re in it too. It’s an endless cycle of mundaneness, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating, doesn’t even begin to cover it.
To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free. ‘Life is suffering’ – Budda
And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome. Take a moment to reflect on you’re journey and feel free to add a comment, sharing a little of it with me.
This week’s post is inspired by the novel Heartless by Marissa Meyer. This melancholic, whimsical story opened up wounds that I’d hope were securely closed. It posed the important question, how do you recover from heartbreak, no seriously… How?
I have loved and lost many times;
The countless friends lost by the upheaval of an army up-bringing.
The death of my mother when I was a teenager.
A selfishness father, who tore in and out like a tornado at his own accord.
Boys who pretended to be friends. They fed me lies and fled with my kisses.
My first proper boyfriend, who deceived and cheated.
To my friends who drifted away with the tides of time; long lost but never forgotten.
Perhaps this is why I write fantasy as an escape from reality. And perhaps this is why I write romance, for I’m ever the optimist.
I’m no different than any of you; it’s simply life and its consequences. Some would say fate. Everyone has loved and lost. We have all suffered the immense pain of a broken heart. The torment of endless questions, self-defeat and gaping wound that no one else can see.
I learnt many valuable lessons from my trials, and today I’ll share some of my wisdom. In the hopes that it will help those suffering, to shine a light on a subject that is brutal, raw but necessary.
You are not alone!
Be brave. My personal mantra and one born from regret. When I lost my best friend to crossed wires and miss communication, I believed that playing it cool would serve me best. My friends all advised me to speak with him, to be honest and hash out the problem. But I was scared, scared of rejection, scared of being laughed at, scared of my feelings. In hind sight, that was a huge mistake. Now when we pass each other in the street and politely smile the song ‘Someone that I used to know,’ skips through my head.
I should have been brave.
Listen to your friends. They’ll know when you should try harder, if they’re playing games or if red flags are flying and you should quit the chase. We won’t always listen or appreciate their advice at the time. But they only have our best interest at heart and at the end of the day, they will be the ones waiting when you’ve pieced yourself back together.
Because heartbreak is messy.
Have faith and believe in yourself. No one wants to hear, ‘There are plenty more fish in the sea.’ Especially not when all we hanker for is that one special person that we can’t envisage life without. Regardless, time rolls on. And with it, we discover who we are and what’s wonderful about ourselves. At the very least, we learn to fall in love with ourselves. I was single for two years before I met my husband. I discovered who and what I was capable of. Don’t be hasty in your search for someone else to fill the void. Instead of searching for Mr Right, put the energy into finding who you are.
(My geeky Greek mythology coming out to play.) When Pandora opened the box and let out destruction, strife and sickness, we must not forget that hope still remained.
Give yourself time. None of us want to feel the twisting dagger of heartbreak and despair. Unfortunately it’s as much part of life as breathing. Take all the time you need, cry, and shoat, or bury your head under a pillow and wallow. Curse the romantic couples who flaunt their happiness.
See it as your chrysalis, for when you do emerge, you’ll be stronger and more beautiful than before.
Laugh. Maybe not immediately, but don’t ever underestimate the power of joy and fun. It’s soul rejuvenating.
Take stock of those that still surround you, for they are the ones who truly care.
Thanks for reading. Looking back what piece of advice do you wish you’d known? I’d love to hear from you so drop your comments below. Remember you’re not alone.