Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot? Looking Back on 2017 with #IWSG



It's the first Wednesday! Which means IWSG Day. Today's question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

After you see what I have to say, be sure to check out other posts and our lovely and generous co-hosts: Julie Flanders, Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!
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2017 was a bit of re-set year for me in my writing life. I've been driving myself pretty hard for the past three years, putting out a novel a year, promoting my work by participating in author events, judging contests, keeping a social media presence, writing short stories for anthologies and magazines, maintaining my daily writing habit (now over four years in a row!) and keeping up my weekly blog. 

Of course, I was doing all this without having stopped doing anything I was already doing, like teaching six Spanish classes to 137-158 children each day, raising two children and a dog, maintaining a marriage and a home, reading a book every week, preparing our family's meals, and occasionally playing a board game or seeing a movie. 

It's obvious now, looking at that list, that I had written a perfect recipe for burnout. Luckily, I know
the signs, and I staged an intervention with myself. 

I was losing the love for writing. So it was time to remember why it's fun. 

I did that by giving myself permission to step away from the Menopausal Superhero series I've been writing since 2014 and write something different. I wrote a lot of short stories, without worrying about whether I had anyplace to publish them or not, ranging in length from 100 word micro-fiction to flash fiction to near-novella length. I rediscovered my love of poetry by reading a poem every single day and writing about it. I began a new novel that I'm nearing the end of, something completely different than anything I've written before.

This hiatus is going to mean that there will be longer than a year between book three and book four of my series. But, it's also going to mean that when I come back to those characters and that world, I will do so with a feeling of reuniting with old friends. The book will be the better for it. I'll trust to forward momentum to help me find readers for it when I get there. 

So, I feel like my 2017 was spent well. I'm definitely getting my mojo and playful enjoyment back, while still feeling like I'm taking it seriously and making progress. That's the balance I'm always seeking. 

The only thing I would change is that I would give more attention to the release of Face the Change back in July. The poor thing is still struggling for reviews because I didn't put my marketing machine hat on and send out enough ARCs and such. It didn't help that Amazon's mysterious review policies resulted in some of my reviews just disappearing :-( I'm working on that now, slowly, but I feel like I did the work a disservice by not getting the word out enough. 

Looking forward to hearing about how all of you did with your goals and plans in 2017 and how you feel about it now! Please comment below. 
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If you're not already following #IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group), you should really check it out. The monthly blog hop is a panoply of insight into the writing life at all stages of hobby and career. Search the hashtag in your favorite social media venue and you'll find something interesting on the first Wednesday of every month.

19 comments:

  1. That's awesome that you can spot the symptoms of burnout and adjust before it gets too bad. I hope your mojo really gets going in 2018!

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  2. Burn out and Reboot. Those two images speak a lot. Best wishes on a successful 2018!

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  3. It's weird because a lot of us are saying the same thing. I definitely burned myself out. And I paid for it this year. Next year, though, I'll have two releases, so I hope I'll be up for the challenge.

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  4. That's good you caught yourself before completely burning out. Probably saved yourself a lot of time that might otherwise had been lost while you were recovering.

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  5. That sounds like such a refreshing change. I think more of us should change things up like that.

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    1. Here's hoping it serves me well in the long run.

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  6. Hm, burnout kinda happened to my author around 2010. That was her last full-length. Well, in that genre, anyhoo.

    Not until 2016 did she get the love and motivation to sit down and see if anything happened from the computer keys.

    Whadday ya know!

    She got a full-length out about -- ME!

    Whoa. Good stuff.

    Yeah, me and the other Mischaps from Gum Drop Island.

    And then -- send whoa. She got a third out in 2017. We're groovin' now. Three in our series.

    So, ya know, sometimes a burnout can produce something bigger and better and -- DIFFERENT.

    Hang in there. The "burn" to write will ignite once more. I know, 'cause here I am. *Nosey wink*

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  7. Hi--As a new member to IWSG, even reading your post made me tired. You deserve a Super Woman award.

    Your book sounds funny! Best wishes for 2018. It's okay to slow down a bit.

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    1. Thanks! Re-reading my post made me tired, too. But I always say that since my eldest is 17, I've been tired for about 18 years. I don't remember what it's like NOT to be tired.

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  8. I'm sure you'll be excited to get back to it in 2018. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Jessica (one of the characters) has already been whispering in my ear.

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  9. I read burn out when you listed all that you do besides writing. If you're raising 2 kids, take time to enjoy them. Before you know it, they've married and had kids of their own. LOL I think a menopausal superhero sounds like fun. I hope you get back to it some day. I'd read it. Best wishes for 2018.

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    1. There are three of them out there already :-) But, yes, I'm always trying to balance all my loves: my girls, my husband, my dog, reading, writing . . . I don't want to wait for someday though, because there's no guarantee there will be one!

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  10. Good for you for stopping burn out before it started. That's not easy. It's extremely difficult to keep writing fun once it becomes a job, I've found. I'm proud of you for figuring this out.

    Our readers may want us to churn out book after book in the same series, but that doesn't mean it's good for us...OR the writing.

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  11. I remember burning out once. I was in college and gotten into my head to fill one semester with almost entirely poetry classes. I had 19th century British Poetry, 20th Century American Poetry and I either had a Shakespeare or a Chaucer class that semester too. And I had to read it in the original language and translate it to modern English. Then to top all that I was also taking a Poetry Workshop class. Can you say burn out? Didn't realize that's what it was until I couldn't think of anything to write. And if I did it was like pulling teeth. So it's a good thing you realize where you were headed and took the necessary steps to avoid burn out.

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    1. Thanks. I've had quite a bit of angst about letting a longer gap go between book 3 and 4, but the book will be the better for it, and so will I.

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