Taking a Breather

I won’t lie, when I first decided that I needed to get back into writing, I thought it would just be more about actually finding the time to write. Boy was I wrong.

To start, all of the cute quotes telling us would-be writers to just sit down and write, editing will come later, it’s easier to edit a terrible page than a blank one…that is of absolutely no use when as a would-be writer we are faced with demons on a daily basis. They may be of our own making, or the doing of others, but they are still there. They hide our imagination under layers of guilt. They stop the flow of ideas in our minds from ever making it to paper. Until we can confront those demons, and until we stand a chance of overcoming them, no amount of pep talks or telling us we’re not truly writers is going to help get the gears moving.

Luckily for me, the demons that have haunted me off and on for the last seven years do finally appear to be in the rearview mirror. Last year alone I wrote three rough drafts and finished a fourth. I haven’t had productivity like that in years, I’d say not since I came back from traveling Europe. All the same, though, it took me acknowledging the ghosts in the room, and accepting within myself that there are times to force the issue of writer’s block, and there are times to allow it.

Flash forward to 2021, and here I am, with the wonderful resolution to take my writing back from the abyss and own it again. This is much easier said than done.

Seven years ago, I participated and won my very first NaNoWriMo, creating over 50,000 words in one month. There was a free promo from Lulu.com for a hardcover of my book of choice, and I did just that. I was on cloud nine for days, maybe even weeks, to have that first book in my hand. Then I found Createspace, and quickly set up two more. The third one that I was able to get out into the world was the first novel I’d ever completed, and it was, by far, the hardest to edit. Still, within a year, I had edited, revised, and edited again three books and they were all available. I created a website, a Twitter account, a Facebook page. And then…nothing. The first demon had entered my life, and she had done her very willful best to destroy everything I loved in a mind game meant to bring me to my knees.

Two years later, I managed to start writing regularly again. But putting anything through the wringer of multiple edits and rewrites was just out of the question. Then another demon came to sit in the corner of my mind that was most often used to create my stories, and so it stayed for years.

When I first decided to rush headlong back into the world of writing, I thought it couldn’t be that hard. Again, I won’t lie, I was wrong. The difference is that this time, I want to do it right. That means researching self-publishing, building a platform, interacting, competing, and honing my craft. Word of warning to fellow would-be writers, don’t try to do this all at once. In the last two weeks, I’ve felt like I was drowning from it all. As I approach February, I am now prepared to refocus, but this time, with some limitations. First and foremost, I need to allow myself a breather, and in my weekly planner (courtesy of the amazing Andlo collection), I have literally written that into Thursdays’ plans. If I want to write for myself, I can, but I will keep any obligations for all the other days of the week.

So if you, a fellow would-be writer, takes nothing more from this than the idea to be kind to yourself, then it is enough. Be gentle, know that this isn’t something to tackle in a day, or a week, or even a month. It is something that we need to work on a little bit each day we can, and we need to know when pushing ourselves can go wrong. I may not be grateful for being a COVID long hauler, but I am grateful that my struggles with the disease have made me see just how easy it is to burn ourselves out, even in pursuit of that which we love best.

Until next time –


Published by L.E. Gibler

Writer, rider, and future crazy cat lady

One thought on “Taking a Breather

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