Friday, January 17, 2014

On Coming Off Hiatus

When I looked on several of my writing friends' year end round ups, it was comforting to see I wasn't the only one who had experienced a bit of a dry spell this winter. For both happy and sad reasons (and sometimes no reasons at all), there have been multiple weeks over these last few months where I wrote nothing at all. I'm not one of those people who will tell you that if you're not waking up every morning excited to write, you shouldn't be writing, but at the same time I spent a lot of time looking back over the amount of time I was doing literally anything else and it's been an uncomfortably powerful argument against me being any type of writer at all.

(I want to get in right here and pre-empt any sympathy responses here. I'm not saying that because I want cheering up. I'm just trying to talk honestly about what's going on in my head.)

For the last year, I've had both weekly and monthly goals. I fell short of both much more often than I hit them, which was discouraging because, while I designed them specifically to be a stretch, they were things I knew I could do. I also let some small things get to me last year, and outweigh the frankly larger portion of awesome things that have happened.

In terms of big things, someone I love very much died, and I've been told I'm not cutting myself enough slack about my productivity in the wake of that.

I'm doing better so far for January. Part of that is that I'm cutting myself a bit more slack, and doing a bit more playing in areas of my writing where I feel comfortable and competent- speed writing from prompts. Part of it is recognizing that while I feel like I didn't do much with the last third of my year, 2013 saw more publications for me than all previous years combined. Part of it is knowing that while I finished fewer stories this year, the some of the ones I did finish are among the best I've ever written. And a large part of it is recognizing that I spent a huge part of this year beating my head against aspects of writing (long form, rewriting, etc) that are my weakest areas- and while I'm still not great at them, I've vastly improved.

It's hard, sometimes to find the balance. I want to be critical of myself. I don't believe I'll improve if I'm not. But there's a narrow line between productively critical and self-flagellation. I'm also trying to be more trusting of myself and more intuitive, but there's always the danger of that leading to a rut of safe, lazy choices.

It's 2014. It's a new year. The bibliography's updated. There's a new blog post. I have a deadline list. I've already hit some of my targets.

This year I'm going to try my damnedest to hit them all.  

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