While wrestling with rewrites for my very first novel (which is now safely tucked away for no one to see, but was an excellent experience) I felt like giving up. I’d lost all motivation, I didn’t want to work on it anymore, and most of all, I’d lost all faith in myself as a writer.
I emailed my friend and mentor Diana Rowland, author of the Kara Gillian Demon series and White Trash Zombie series. As always, she had excellent advice for me and for anyone else experiencing the same struggle.
She told me to step away from the novel. Speaking in terms I’d understand as a fitness professional, she said, “you have overtrained and torn your write-isimus maximus.” She then forbade me to work on my book for one whole week.
During that time, she told me to fill my well back up. “Read, watch movies, torture your training clients. If you come up with brilliant ideas for your book, you can jot down notes, but that’s it.” It’s about doing things for you, things you enjoy doing, that give you renewed energy, peace and personal fulfillment.
She also let me know that every single writer she knows goes through the “meltdown phase, where the book is such a complete ****ing garbled mess that they’re convinced that there’s no possible way it can ever be salvaged. It can be. Really. But you have to get some distance from it first.”
I took her advice. I detoxed from my novel and attempted to fill my well. I spent a bit of time spoiling myself while I stayed away from working on the novel. I went back to it with renewed energy and finished my rewrites. That novel may never see the light of day, but it was an incredible accomplishment and taught me a lot about myself and my writing.
Filling our wells is important and we really don’t do it enough. Find what works for you, what re-energizes and refreshes you and don’t feel guilty about indulging in those things. In the long run, you writing will be all the better for it.