As a creative person I am often trying new things like DIY projects that require me to learn something or do something I’ve never done before. For example, when I was planning my wedding over two years ago I saw these sheet music flowers that someone had made and turned into a bouquet and fell in love with them. Armed with different downloaded PDF’s of how to make the flowers, sheet music printed on various colors of scrapbook paper, scissors, and my hot glue gun I went to work. I tried different types of flowers and finally found one I liked. It was a great deal of work. I made my own bouquet, as well as the bouquets of my bridal party, my mother’s and my mother-in-laws as well as one for my aunt. SHEW! It was a lot of work, work that I was excited and nervous about. What if they looked like shit? What if they didn’t look nice enough? What if they fell apart? What if…
Doubts plagued me until I put the first one together and saw how good it looked. Then as I finished each one I was amazed at how much faster I got, how much easier it became to make them. Writing is the same way. The more you write the better you get. The more you outline the easier it gets. The more you work at it the more confident you become. At least, for the most part that’s how it goes for me.
There are times, however, when fear that what you’re writing isn’t good enough. When insecurities and self-doubt set in and you start wondering if what you’re working on is working, of it’s just utter shit and maybe you’re wasting your time… You begin to wonder if it’s really worth all the time and energy you’re putting into it…
Maybe you’re just stuck and doubting yourself. You’ve put so much time, energy, and enthusiasm into it that now you’re drained and you’re not sure you can keep doing it. Had I not looked at the whole picture when it came to those sheet music roses and had only looked at the individual roses I’d have decided to go with real flowers for my wedding and wouldn’t have bothered finishing them. Individually the roses were pretty, but not gorgeous. And when I put some of them together, even though there were for different bouquets and didn’t match, I saw in my mind the whole picture. I even made the boutonnieres for the men.
Each bouquet was made specifically for each person. My cousin L’s favorite color is orange, our friend K’s favorite color is green, my daughter’s favorite color is red, my mom’s favorite color is purple, Mr. Rockstar’s Mom’s favorite color is dark blue… You get the drift. And I made my bouquet with white and the yellow one in the center was in remembrance for those who had passed on and could not be there (my father and his mother’s favorite colored roses were yellow). When I was finished with all of the bouquets I was quite proud of myself and extremely pleased with how they turned out. They were beautiful, but they were also personal gifts from me to each person. Gifts that I’d put my own time, energy and effort into. Same goes for my writing.
Whether or not I have put aside two or twenty WIP’s doesn’t matter. What matters is that I haven’t given up and am working hard on finishing a novel. I read and responded to a post earlier today that made me realize that each and every day I work on my novel, whether I write one word or 3000 words, whether I take a break for a day or two, isn’t important, what is important is that I remember to nurture not just the writer in me, but the person too. I’ve been burned out. Felt the need to ostracize myself from social media, even from posting on my blog. I’ve been burned out on writing. I’ve been burned out to the point where I took a few days and did nothing but watch Netflix or read books for a few days. No writing at all. I needed that time for me, to replenish myself. And it’s alright. Taking a small break is okay. But what I won’t do is give up on my writing. I’ve realized that there are times when we need a change of scenery, when we need to change things up, as my friend Cassidy said. I’m a firm believer in finding various outlets for my creative energy and so that I don’t lose that creative energy I’ve got to nourish my creative soul.
What works for me might not work for someone else. What works for someone else might not work for me. But whatever you do, remember to nourish not just the writer in you, but the person in you as well.