While wrestling with my first novel rewrites, I had what could be called nothing less than a meltdown. To say I was in complete anguish over the novel would only be telling half the story. I debated with myself whether to scrap the entire thing or not, and was really pissed at myself for having written what in my mind was such a piece of crap.
I emailed my mentor Diana Rowland – (author of Mark of the Demon, Blood of the Demon) and she, as always, had EXCELLENT advice for me, which she has graciously agreed to let me share with you. For any of you who have ever felt like I did, I’m sure it will help you as well.
She told me to step away from the novel. Speaking in terms I’d understand, she said, “you have overtrained and torn your write-isimus maximus.” She then forbade me to work on my book for one whole week.
During that time, she told me to fill my well back up. “Read, watch movies, torture your training clients. If you come up with brilliant ideas for your book, you can jot down notes, but that’s it.” It’s about doing things for you, things you enjoy doing, that give you renewed energy, peace and personal fulfillment.
To make me feel better, she also let me know that every single writer she knows goes through the “meltdown phase, where the book is such a complete ****ing garbled mess that they’re convinced that there’s no possible way it can ever be salvaged. It can be. Really. But you have to get some distance from it first.”
While I may be new to this writing business, I am smart enough to know to listen to those who have the experience and knowledge I lack. I detoxed from my novel and attempted to fill my well. I’m happy to report that it absolutely worked. My novel is still a piece of crap, but I’ve got renewed energy to tackle it and make it great.
- Read: fiction, writing advice articles and books
- Home spa (hot bath, facial, manicure etc)
- Watch movies
- Crochet (currently working on more cat blankets for the SPCA)
- Play with my cats
- De-clutter! This is a great one for feeling refreshed!
- Meet with friends for coffee/lunch
- Exercise (though this is a regular one)
- Email friends, send e-cards
Diana recommended this article http://zenhabits.net/2009/09/the-world-needs-you-to-do-what-you-love/ which she said “is kinda ultra-sappy and new-agey, but it’s pretty true as well. Especially #7. You’re a writer. It’s cool.”
What do you do to fill your well? (I’m always looking for new ideas.)