Editing urges come in waves. I spend all my free time for days editing a manuscript. At the end of that editing run, my brain feels like warm jelly. Wibbly-wobbly. This is the point at which I begin my break from editing, from that manuscript. Within that break, I play video games, catch up on some TV watching, do laundry that I skipped while editing, and get the story out of my head.
I overload myself. I write for hours, until my fingers have lost the ability to type, until my sentences don’t make grammatical sense. When it comes to the point where I read a sentence and immediately forget that sentence, it is breaktime.
When I was starting out in the writer-sphere, I thought that I had to write, write, write. I had to start pumping out novels left and right. I had to have as many published books under my name as possible. I had to write right now because if I waited a week I’d never be a writer. Now. Now. Now. What if the world ended before I published? What if this, what if that – full of what-if problems.
Being published was and is my dream. I felt the need to realize that dream as soon as possible. And I rushed. I rushed into calling a manuscript “finished” and rushed into sending that unpolished manuscript’s query out. And every single query got rejected or ignored.
My advice to new and aspiring writers: don’t hurt yourself trying to be a writer. You write, therefore you are a writer. Don’t strain yourself to finish a certain word count each night. Write when your mind allows it.
There are ways to ready yourself to write. Have a routine. Whether you wake up early each morning or write during your lunch break, don’t stress your daily life to write. Maybe your daily life allows you time to write only on the weekends. Then write on the weekends. Don’t neglect your job or your family or friends or health to write.There are busy weeks in my life where I may not write at all, or if I do it’s poorly done.
I have a confession. I skipped hanging out with friends to work on a manuscript once. I felt bad, but I had the writing urge, the right brainwaves, and everything in the universe had lined up to allow me free passage in the creativity lanes. Those kinds of afternoons don’t come along but once in blue moon. I had to take it.
Once in a while is alright, especially if you’re like me and don’t have a large social circle.
The moral of this post is to not overload yourself with writing stress. The world will not end if you don’t finish editing chapter 6 by Friday.