Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Overmining: An IWSG Post

I am a pretty driven person by nature and as soon as I accepted that the only way to be a happy, content person was to dedicate myself to my writing (five years ago), I went at it pretty hard core.  In five years, I’ve written quite a few books and now that I have embarked on the indie publishing adventure, I’m publishing my books at a pretty hard-core pace.  This scenario leads me to this post about overmining, because I have been feeling overmined lately—specifically, my creativity.  I am pushing so hard to get the next book ready and the next one after that.  I go from finishing one book to beginning the next in the series on the same day.  I sit down in front of the page every day and expect my creativity to show up, and honestly (and thankfully), it does.  But in pushing this hard, I’m finding craters in my creativity that used to be meadows.  The fun of story discovery begins to feel taxing.  The characters I love—and their expanding lists of issues—become toxic to the joy I usually find in the writing process.  I push for a reason, believing that if we don’t give ourselves deadlines, nothing much will get done.

I’ve even created a timeline of when I want to release my books through 2016.  I push to hopefully develop a readership that will follow me from book to book, series to series.  I have a plan and a vision.  I also have overmining as a chief worry.  

And I have my catch 22.  To be a happy person, I must write, but what happens when writing drains me?  How does balance exist for a person who cringes at the word moderation?  I admit to a somewhat Puritanical work ethic.  How do I let go of something so ingrained in the fabric of my person?

It is all about filling the well—that I know.  But everything gets more complicated after that, when the thing that most completes me depletes me.  And horror of horrors is the idea of taking time off when I have a publishing map driving me forward.

I know from reading other IWSG posts that many writers have procrastination worries with their writing.  I had to smile when I realized that last IWSG post day, I had procrastination envy.  This isn't to say that my focus is always rock solid (certainly not... I can get lost researching the history of kilts or fall into the parallel universe of online puppy pictures), but I will say that if I ever had a boss at a job who pushed me the way I push myself, I'd run for the hills and seek life elsewhere.

I’d love your thoughts on this because I get tight in the chest even considering backing away from the greatest part of my life.

To read other IWSG posts, check out the master list here.


Sarah Chafin said...

I came to a similar conclusion about writing last year. I have been writing nonstop the past several months and I really struggle with balance. I'm constantly behind on other aspects of my life. I'm working on finding a balance. I'm not to the point that writing drains me yet but I worry my obsession with it will bug my family if I don't find the right balance soon.

Liza said...

No matter what your "job," vacations serve a purpose. They let you rest, they recharge things. They force you to step out of your habit and see things you have been missing. Since you appear to be good at scheduling yourself, maybe you might conciser scheduling a couple of well earned breaks. Breath deep, take walks, visit places you have never been to and then when the break is over, the writing will come easier when you go at it from a refreshed point of view.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm no expert, but I've found that I need to be involved in other creative ways in order to feel excited when I'm writing. Sometimes I actually feel overwhelmed by how slow it's going. I spend too much time down because the story isn't coming to me fast enough. Yes, it's a catch-22 burden.

It's spring. I'm going outside to garden for a bit each day. I'm making our space more comfortable too, and in doing so, I'm finding when I do sit down to write, I'm eager and willing and excited about what will come of it.

Happy IWSG, Julie!

Lynda R Young said...

Whenever I get like that I take a break and do something totally out of the ordinary, just to shake things up.