Monday 20 September 2021

When You Feel Like Giving Up - The Creative Process



As someone who has been writing for over twenty years, and has been published for over sixteen now, I just want to preface this by saying that this happens to us all. There is no writer, or creative, but let's stick to writer, out there who hasn't had moments when it just feels like it's all falling apart or going wrong and they just want to throw in the towel and call it a day. It's normal, it happens, and whether you do give up or not is a personal choice, and I'm not here to judge anyone for those.

However, before you put down your pen, and decide that this writing life is just not for you, I would implore you to just read what I have to say, and see how it feels to you. Writing is isolating and hard, and I'm never going to be someone who says differently, but there can be explanations for that giving up feeling, that aren't anything to do with a need to end the whole thing forever.

For example, if you're burned out, then taking a break, getting away from the writing for a while is always a good option. It might be that as things progress, you find yourself relighting that spark that drew you to your current project and be ready to jump back in. Sometimes, it's simply that outside stressors are causing you to feel like you can't go on with writing this project for whatever reason. I'd advice again to take that break, deal with the stress as you can, and re-evaluate later.

But then there are times, when that stressor, or that burnout, or that imposter syndrome is a loud voice in your ear and you can't ignore it any longer and sometimes, it's just not going to go away. It doesn't matter how much of a break you take, this stress is the new normal and you can't see a chance of ever going back to writing any kind of project, let alone the one you've been working on for a while. Sometimes the burnout drains you to the point where it doesn't matter how long you stay away, that project is forever tainted and you will never again find your spark for it. So what happens then?

You take a breath, and you really ask yourself some hard questions. Do you want to keep writing? Do you feel like changing to a different project will help? If you have a deadline, can it be moved? If you don't have a deadline that's set in stone, do you think that maybe changing it massively would help? Like for example if you'd need to write for an hour or two every day to meet that original deadline, could you cut it down to thirty minutes and adjust the deadline as appropriate? It's about finding what works for you, about finding a way to move forward without making yourself feel worse.

I know a lot of that above paragraph is questions with no answers, and that's simply because I can't answer them for you. I'm not you, I don't know your life, and your obligations, but I can say that asking yourself those questions and more may help you get to the point where you know what your next step is. It may not, it might be that you realise that no matter how much you want to keep writing, whether an individual project, or at all, it's just not possible right now.

I hear you, and I feel that pain. When I was doing my degree, I couldn't fit writing into the schedule. I had too many other commitments and it just wasn't going to happen. I went literal years without writing anything on my current projects, but I did come back to them, and those projects are now books that have been published for a while. My point is simply that just because you have to stop for a period doesn't mean you have to stop forever. Even if it takes you years to come back, that's okay.

Just remember to look after yourself, be kind to yourself, and do what is best for you. It takes as long as it takes, and that's okay.

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments below.

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