Jan Fields (cute_n_cranky) wrote,
Jan Fields

Forced Vacation

Thoughout the writing years of my life, I've gotten burnt out by publishing a time or two. The system of submission, hope, rejection, submission again...cha cha cha...can become truly exhausting. It doesn't grow less so just because you're published. It doesn't even become less so when you're making a living from writing. The process of submission and rejection is still demoralizing. And like having someone break up with you by saying, "it's not you, it's me" -- well, it still feels like you. It still feels like failing. And failure is exhausting. It might be educational. It might be an unavoidable part of the process, but it's still exhausting.

So sometimes, I get burned out on publishing. Sometimes I even tell myself that I would quit writing if (1) I had another way to make a living and (2) I knew HOW to quit. I daydream about the restfulness of a job that is not filled with rejection. Still, I truly do love writing.

BUT. I learned something recently during the forced "vacation" created by being out of power for five days. I was tired. I wasn't tired of the submission/rejection process so much as...I was just tired. I'd been dipping pretty heavily out of the creative well these last couple of years. I have a six-book series coming out in January and a four-book series coming out later in the year. I have a bunch of stray books coming out -- parts of different series not all written by the same author. I've done educational writing and writing about writing. And the only times I took off was when I needed to do something else for the sake of someone else.

And I was tired. I was so tired that I actually ran out of ideas to pitch for one publisher. I've never run out of ideas. And I had to give up on a book that just wasn't working. I never give up on something a publisher is actively waiting on. Something was wrong. I was tired.

So when the lights were out, I couldn't use the Internet or my computer. And I couldn't really go anywhere. So I stayed home, tucked under a blanket and I read. I read a whole stack of books. I didn't write at all. And it was WONDERFUL. In fact, it was something I fantasized about when I was working so hard. Now that the lights are back on, I feel wonderful. And the amazing thing is that I was dumped off the hampster wheel I run on for a whole week and I'm still not really behind. I'm just refreshed. For the first time in a while.

It shouldn't have taken a massive storm and power outage to get me to stop and rest. Sometimes the cure isn't to run faster, write more and dig deeper. Sometimes the answer is to stop writing and do something you've wanted to do but didn't have time. Sometimes the answer is to give yourself a break. I'm going to try to remember that -- I don't know if I will. I'm pretty used to spinning that hamster wheel hard. But hopefully, the next time it won't take a hurricane to get me back in a good splace. But just in case...I hear there's a Nor'easter coming!

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