Last Updated on December 7, 2020 by ThoughtsStained
So, I’m slowly getting back into the writing groove again. After struggling with some mental health stuff for…a while, I didn’t realize that it had seeped into my confidence as a writer, as well.
I’ve been editing one of my novels, Blood Price, this entire year. And though I make that claim, it’s honestly been more stops and spurts than constant work, until the past two weeks. I realized, after a little reflection, that I wasn’t making steady progress because I was too focused on the outcomes: on how I was “taking too long” to write this story; how I needed to query it immediately, before this story becomes irrelevant; how some people might hate this story or focusing way too much about the reception of readers.
Then, I saw a tweet from V.E. Schawb that simply said:
Friends, this has become my mantra.
I can’t control how readers respond to my writing, my books. I can’t control the publishing market, whether this books leads me to an agent or if it takes me more books to get that point (or if I decided to self-publish). In publishing, there is a lot I can’t control, so why would I give those things the power to influence what I can control: my own output, my own desire to write, my drive to put in the work necessary to make this book–to make every book I write–the best book I can, in that moment.
It’s advice that ties into everything else I’ve been dealing with, too, hence the whole “adopting it as a mantra” thing. Whether I decide I want to start going to the gym again and actively try to lose weight or if I decide to try to simply love myself as I am, both options, I can follow the same advice: I can show up and work out as hard as I can and enjoy the process, instead of focusing so much on the results. Or, I can actively work, every day, to try and love myself and stop focusing so much on what others think.
It was just such an…empowering idea, one that I love and am trying to actively incorporate. With writing, it has helped a ton. I’m focusing on my story as it is now, actively taking the time to edit it as it needs to be edited, instead of spending so much time worrying about how, in my “original timeline/plan,” I would have been querying by now. Instead, I’m focusing on showing up as often as I can, putting in all the necessary work, to make this book be the version I know it can be, in my heart.
And friends, it’s like a piece that was missing has been returned to me.
I didn’t realize how much my happiness was tied into my writing and the very act of writing/creating. But going through those few months not working on it at all definitely didn’t help my mood, which was already in the dumps to begin with. I’m excited about this book, excited to be putting in the work again. I’m falling in love with this story and these characters all over again and I love it. I needed it. I’m excited with this new mindset and learning how to embrace it more fully. I have a feeling, if I can master letting go of the outcomes and instead, putting all that worrying energy into my own work and effort, then I’ll become unstoppable.
Off The TBR says
Keep at it Nicole!
So many people I know struggle with how mental health impacts their day to day living. I know it isn’t easy. But do know you have support out here and people rooting for you.
Nicole Evans says
Thank you so much, Jason. That seriously means the world. <3
There are definitely a lot of people who like to propone the idea of “do or do not,” and “don’t think you will, know you will,” but I believe that kind of thinking can also be harmful. I think there is great value in accepting that “all we can do is put in our effort, and find out what comes of it.”
In some ways I think there’s even a way in which part of why we put in the effort is curiosity, wondering “what will come of my/our effort?”
And sometimes (often) I think overly emphasizing a specific possible outcome hinders our ability to appreciate the unexpected but very good outcome that does come of our efforts.
There are so many positive possibilities. Why not welcome all of them?
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction says
I can completely relate to this. Lately my writing has been slow and I’ve been beating myself up about it. I feel frustrated and I wonder if what I’m producing is “good enough.” What I need to do is sit back and relax and write for me again. I did that once upon a time and the results were much better!
Nicole Evans says
YES, exactly. We always must remember to write for ourselves, first. The rest will follow. <3