Tuesday, July 6, 2021

I'm Adapting a New Mindset about My Writing

My writing burn-out started in about late 2015 after three years of publishing about 15 books. I would not recommend that to anyone. I felt like my writing wasn't coming from my heart anymore, and I was going through the motions. I didn't want to give up on my dream, so I kept going. Then my marriage fell apart in July 2016. I fought hard for it, but it was unsalvageable, and I moved back to my home city in February 2017. Life was stressful in the beginning as a single mom. I now had to work hard to earn money to help pay for a second household. Besides struggling with an undiagnosed anxiety disorder, I had safety and other issues to deal with. In the throes of the difficult time since July, I managed to write a fantasy novel called Angeline 43, and it was published by Clean Reads on my birthday! The book was a cathartic release for me of all my heartache and pain. It pretty much was a once-off thing, and I'm not sure if I'll ever write a fantasy novel again - not to say I wouldn't like to, but it doesn't come as naturally to me as romance. At the time, though, it just flowed.

As I adapted to my new lifestyle, I found solace in writing my book about cats which was published as Cat Therapy in 2019 but will be republished under a new name soon - The Cat Love Hotel. My heroine was a divorcee, and I poured a lot of myself into the book. I enjoyed writing the book so much, but it wasn't always easy, as I was still coming out of my writing burn-out and I had far less time on my hands. I had hope, though, that I would come out of the burn-out fully. 

I did gradually come out of the burn-out and wrote two contemporary romances in the last few years. At first, romance was hard for me, as my romantic and idealistic view about romantic relationships had been shattered by the divorce. It slowly healed, though. I'm excited to share that my first in the contemporary romance series is with my editor at the moment. I hope to self-publish it sometime this year. I'm doing the process so much slower now, but I prefer it. I get to savour each moment and not rush things. I'm also actually putting decent money into the process this time because I'm discovering that's the only way to make it work.

But, I have a confession to make: I have been struggling with writing so much the last few years. It's not the burn-out anymore. I don't know how to describe it. I start writing a book and write a couple of pages, and then this depression sinks into me as I stare at the pages and try to write more. It's so weird and it's so upsetting. The thought of writing the book makes me feel almost sick. I have started up so many books and never gotten further than Chapter One. Thankfully, I managed to get the two contemporaries out although I did struggle with the second one a bit. It's not that I didn't enjoy the story, but I had to work hard to stick to it until the end. As far as my self-love books go, that problem didn't feature. They came from somewhere up in the clouds. I know that sounds funny, but I feel like I didn't even really write them, that they were bigger and stronger than me. I sincerely believe they came from my higher self or were channeled.

I have been butting heads with myself for years now, trying to get the writing to flow. On Saturday, I was part of a team of mentors in a Zoom meeting, and we were chatting to some new authors about writing. One of the mentors spoke about sticking to writing every day, and I just cringed inside. I felt like such a hypocrite. How could I help newer authors if I wasn't writing properly myself? I felt like a fake wanting to be a writing coach even though I spend my day editing books and have plenty of hands-on experience with the work of authors. I keep asking God / The Universe / Source how I can get my writing mojo back. I keep asking for a breakthrough or inspiration, or something. It's been so frustrating. And worst of all, the guilt has been strong. I know that sounds strange. It's not like I rely on my writing to support my family, so why do I feel this guilt that I'm not producing content? Because I firmly believe and feel deep inside that it's one of my purposes in this life. I've been given this one thing to do, and I'm not doing it. Hence the guilt.

Then, something happened inside me a few days ago - like a realisation. I think I'd reached a head with this struggle, as if I needed answers, and I needed them now. I've been reading a book by the Newton Institute that goes into hypnotherapy sessions that people have that take them to the "life between lives" place, where they speak to spirit beings and find out why they came to the Earth in this life and the purpose of their life. The one lady knew she'd been lazy in her life and wasn't doing all the things she was meant to do. My stomach churned when I read that. But then another woman felt that she just needed to relax and be and not strive - that her beauty would shine out by just being herself. I wondered which one I was. Was I failing by not writing and following my dream? I so want to write. I feel like I'm failing myself, too. 

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev from Pexels

So, what happened a few days ago is this thought just came to me - like a knowing voice inside me. It said I must stop striving for inspiration. I must stop trying to find a book to write and think up a decent idea that's going to stick. I must just be, and the inspiration will flow TO ME at the right time. I don't have to stir up a muddy pond, searching for some gem inside it, but rather, I must wait for that beautiful, clear stream to flow toward me and engulf me so that I'm flowing again.

Then today, I read about the turtle spirit animal. I love the turtle spirit animal and feel a kinship with him. He's a slow-mo guy. He takes his time with life and just enjoys being. I need to just trust, and the inspo will come at the right time. I also did a guided meditation this morning, and it was about finding joy, about how we are worthy of experiencing joy no matter what. She said that one of the things that stops people from feeling that they deserve joy is that they think they have to work hard before they can reap the reward of joy. It's so embedded in our culture and in some people growing up that we feel we don't deserve joy until we have achieved something. That's how I feel about my writing. Yes, there is always the natural joy that comes from finishing a writing project, but that doesn't mean I can't have joy now. I don't have to feel I'm not worthy of joy because I'm not working on another book. I will get there - at the right time.