I believe in a future where I
will be able to write full-time, a picture I already hold vividly in my
mind. It all starts with my debut young adult novel, Provex City. I love
Harry Potter & The Marbury Lens, Tool & Elliott Smith, Dexter
& Donnie Darko, bold coffee & amber ale. I also love dabbling
with writing music and recording, with no illusions of ever making it a
career. I am ecstatically married and the lucky father to a beautiful
Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it's something you're not familiar with, then please click on Alex's link above for more information and to sign up!
Sometimes the best thing one can do to move forward is to take a step back. I've done precisely that over the past few months. Last month I spoke about being paralyzed with my writing in April and turning to editing in order to stay productive. I was looking forward to May as being the month I'd complete my third manuscript. And I have been writing, but haven't produced the word count I'd originally intended for the past month.
Now to discuss my step back to help propel me to where I want to be. I've been actively writing for six years, spending a lot of free time in front of the computer screen. Over the past three years, my life has changed dramatically due to family additions and a career change that has more than cut my free time in half. Giving up writing is not an option, but if I want to succeed in the long term, then I need to find ways to accomplish more in less time, to become more efficient as a writer and as an entrepreneur, and to refuel myself with energy, passion, and momentum.
Energy--or better yet, the lack there of--has been a major issue for quite a few years. I've equated my dwindling energy to just getting older and counteracted it with drinking more coffee. I hit a tipping point where the coffee wasn't giving me that needed boost anymore, just continual heartburn. So my first major shift was getting off caffeine entirely. That was a year and a half ago. I had hoped my energy would slowly return from conquering my addiction, but that wasn't the case. My energy continued to dwindle as competing priorities kept building. My emotions were suffering. My writing was suffering. And my vision for my future as a full time writer seemed to be fading away if I wasn't committed to making some even bigger changes.
And the first big change I had to make was making a commitment to myself to regain the energy that's been so steadily slipping away. I could work to improve all of my writing routines and obligations, force myself to get up earlier, go to bed later, push my word count, and maximize any free time I could find, but none of those changes would last if I didn't have the energy to even get out of bed in the morning. I had to take a step back.
Over the past two months I've committed to a new exercise routine and healthy nutritional plan. The first few weeks were hard, but as I began to feel better, see some results, and noticed my energy returning to a level I haven't felt in years, the commitment became drastically easier. I can't remember a time when I could get up at 5am and feel refreshed, but I feel that on most mornings now (especially on the ones when I exercise first thing). To do this, I've had to take time away from writing, but with the remaining time I do have to write is now more productive. I can appreciate it more. I can see my vision returning.
I'm still writing. And I have many improvements still to make to reach my goals. But this one has been an important first step. One step back and two steps forward.