Are we supposed to stay sane?

So this week we are blogging about staying sane while balancing deadlines and writer's block and crippling fear.   All I can think about is how so much of this business is out of our control that sometimes it's really easy to lose perspective and freak out.

Sometimes the freak outs are over good things.  Like the time I was on submission and couldn't do anything for the three weeks after our first offer but hit refresh on my email.  Or the first time I saw my book on the shelf at Barnes and Noble and did a little happy dance in the aisle.

Sometimes the freak outs are over not so good things.  Like the time I learned that my manuscript needed to be completely rethought and rewritten.  Or the time I read through my manuscript and decided I hated every word.

In a business that is based on acceptance or rejection, where people are supposed to openly criticize your work, and where the process is long and arduous, you can't help but feel crazy at times.  The key to staying sane over the long term is learning to put all that craziness aside and focus on the part you can control: the writing.

So here are some things that I do to stay sane while writing:

1.  Embrace the Crazy:  Some days are going to be so full of excitement or disappointment, that sometimes you just have to accept that you need to write off the day and go with it.  Sometimes we just need to wallow and get it over with it.  Mourn that bad review.  Grieve for that so-close rejection.  Other days we need to take time out to celebrate.  That first request for a full or personalized rejection?  Revel in it!  Those little successes are the building blocks for the ones to come.

2.  Commune with other Crazies:  No one understands what you're going through like another writer.  You can find them on blogs, on Twitter or at writing conferences.  Get out there and connect with other people who know exactly how you feel.  Having a support system makes the great parts of the journey even more special.  Having someone you can call when your confidence is shot is invaluable.

3.  Keep Writing:  Some days writing is hard.  Other days, the words flow faster than you can type them.  No matter what kind of day you're having, open the manuscript and start typing.  Even if you feel like every word is crap, keep going.  That's what revision is for.  And honestly, when you go back to revise that scene, chances are you won't remember if the words came easy or hard.

4.  Remember Why you Do This:  Keep perspective.  You write because you love creating characters and stories.  Don't ever lose sight of that.

5. Get an Unbiased Opinion from Someone You Trust:  Before you hit delete or put that manuscript in the drawer, get a second opinion.  Maybe that scene is salvageable, or your manuscript just needs a bit of revision.  Maybe you're too close to the story to see what's working well.

6.  Commit for the Long Haul:  There is no such thing as an overnight success.  Even the writers whose first books have gone on to be mega-sellers started out alone with a computer and a blank computer screen.  Writing a novel takes work and commitment. There will be setbacks along the way.  Most writers build their audience over time.  The only way to succeed in this business is to keep trying.

7.  Keep a Realistic Perspective:  Recognize that rejection is part of the business.  There will always be someone who gets an agent sooner, gets a higher advance, and sells more books.  That's okay.  It doesn't mean you will never sell a book.  It doesn't mean you will never get there.  Everyone's journey is unique.  Embrace yours.

Embrace the crazy.  Own it.  And when all else fails: write about it.


This week's posts are my daily kick-in-the-pants. I especially like #s 4 and 7...together they make me unstoppable.

Baby's down for a nap, kid's in preschool...I'm going to get to work!

(By the way, capcha, or however it's spelled, has gotten way out of hand. It's sometimes taking me 2 or 3 tries to post comments. Just thought you guys should know.)

Super post - and your list is exactly what helps keep us sane. Thanks!

(I hate capcha, too. It does seem to be getting harder and harder to read on everybody's blog I visit. I click up to 7 times to get something I can read.) :-)

Hi guys, I tried to remove the capcha too. (Gaw I hate them). So just promise that you're not robots and/or spammers and we're all set.

Hopefully, it worked - just about to try...

YAY! I think it worked. Let me know if it still requires reading glasses and an active imagination to comment and I'll dig deeper.

I think we're going to have to turn on the capcha again. We've been getting a TON of spam comments.

Sorry, folks.

Post a Comment

Grid_spot theme adapted by Lia Keyes. Powered by Blogger.


discover what the Muses get up to when they're not Musing

an ever-growing resource for writers

Popular Musings

Your Responses

Fellow Musers