Friday, January 6, 2017

The Right Headspace

Let's just start this post off by agreeing that writing is hard. Not just is it hard, but it's hard on our mental health. (Hello, three year break!) There are so many different aspects of this work, and each of them can be draining in their own way.

In drafting, I struggle with perfectionism. I want to put my best work down to begin with, but this often stops the flow of my words.  It acts as my block, and it's exhausting to break through it. It's not something I can flip a switch and turn off either. (But thanks for that suggestion, Hubby! At least you tried to help!) I need to be in the right headspace -- or frame of mind -- in order to step beyond that paralyzing need to be perfect. This particular challenge has gotten greater as my writing knowledge has improved. The story that I've been outlining and drafting while I was on my break has been the one I've struggled with most of all in this respect.

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YOU SAID WHAT?!


In revising, well...it's easy to take comments too personally. (RE: the whole perfectionism thing) This is where I have to be REALLY careful with how and when I read comments from my CP's. I don't want to get my back up and be all...

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SHE HATES ME!




I also don't want to read the comments when I'm feeling too vulnerable or sensitive, because then can I wind up all...

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I've got this!




Sometimes that means waiting a few hours, and sometimes that means waiting a day or so to be able to dive into the comments and take them with a positive mindset...
Waiting is not my favorite thing to do. I'm an action taker -- I don't sit idly by for anything, I go after what I want -- so it's hard for me to wait. But I'm learning to balance that feeling by diverting my focus. 

I've made it a goal of this year, and this month specifically, to work on my craft every day, but specified that "working on my craft" includes reading, writing, critiquing, revising, blogging, social media, etc. So I don't feel hedged in and limited. I've allowed myself that freedom to escape my own mind's games. That way if I'm not in the right headspace for a critique, I've got a whole list of other things to work on to better my craft without feeling guilty or putting myself through the emotional wringer.

I'm hoping that I've come back to this world with enough clarity from my break to keep the positivity flowing. And I hope that maybe my experience will help another writer who has struggled with the same things to not feel alone out there. Sometimes it's nice to have someone who understands to just say, me too.

Do you guys have any tricks for keeping yourself positive during this process? I'd love to hear them!

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