I’ve heard rumblings lately. Rumblings about how draggy folks are feeling. And you know what? I’m feeling a twinge of the dog-days-of-August blues, and it’s only May.
In the publishing industry, the promo whirl is never ending. Got a book? Hype it here. Hype it there. Hook readers on this network or that one. Join the next greatest social media utility and start over collecting friends. And do it all while you maintain a grasp on life, and, oh yeah, don’t forget about moving forward on that next book.
Don’t get me wrong, I love doing all of that, but sometimes the creativity tank gets empty.
Know what I mean?
I notice it most when I spread myself too thin, when I’ve got too many active projects. Or when I start to think about the “have-nots,” as in there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done or not enough “likes” or “tags” or reviews.
When the have-nots and bone-deep weariness hit, writers go into a nasty spiral of inactivity.
It’s easy to get caught in that comparison trap. So-and-so has meteoric sales, a big-time contract, a movie deal, or network TV interviews. We all know people that seem to jet right to the top without “paying their dues.”
What’s a writer to do?
Here are five ideas to help:
Recharge your muse. Not everyone admits to having a muse, but we all know what it feels like when our creativity stalls. Not good. Many writers are also attracted to other arts. Visit a museum or get out your paints. Listen to music or take in a concert. Enjoy an arts and crafts festival. Take a photography course. Putter around in garden centers. Sew something pretty. Whatever it is that makes you happy – go for it.
Narrow your goal focus. Need to get the newsletter out, update the website, and create a postcard promotion for next month’s book release? Focus on one thing at a time. For me the pay-off comes when I check off each accomplishment on my to-do list.
Look outward. To get out of the dismal have-not trap, expand your focus beyond your everyday realm. Connect with real people in your physical universe. See firsthand the struggles others are going through, and your have-nots will pale in comparison. It’s about regaining your sense of perspective.
Nurture your physical health. It’s easy to forget our health. For a change, put yourself first. Whether it’s a foot massage you need, a walk by the seaside, or a medical checkup, make time to be healthy. Feeling a bit dull? Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. One thing’s for certain. An engine won’t run on crappy fuel. It will sputter and grind to a halt. Eat the right foods.
Take a hiatus. There are times when nothing seems to help. Your body/soul/spirit/muse needs a complete break. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a Mediterranean cruise or a Habitat for Humanity house, doing something else shifts your immediate attention and engages you. Before you know it, ideas will start percolating again and you’ll be itching to hit the keyboard again.
Putting this post together energized me. I'm off to work on edits for my latest romantic suspense.
Read an excerpt of Death, Island Style at http://www.maggietoussaint.com/death_island_style.html