I hate exercise. At least I hate the after effects. I’m fine with taking long walks, hiking, and the occasional dance off in my living room. But I really don’t like sweating. It’s a real handicap when sweat is the proof that exercise is working. After a summer of trying my best to avoid the heat (to little effect), I’m trying to get back into exercising, but for now it’s an uphill battle.
It’s the same with writing. If I ever needed proof that it’s a muscle, I’ve got it now. Marketing has been plaguing me for the past month or so. It’s been rather consuming (writing blog posts, creating ads on Goodreads, keeping tabs on sales, fighting with the printer because of a 0.0625 differential on the cover art, etc.) and therefore has blocked out any semblance of a writing regiment. I vowed when school started for my daughter, I would let marketing go on autopilot for at least a week or two and get back to my much-needed rewrites for my novella, The Cemetery Circle (due out mid-October in time for the Halloween season). It’s hard to switch gears.
But I’ve been fighting to get back. The hill keeps getting steeper and more daunting. Doubts creep in… Did I lose my skills? Are my ideas viable? Do I remember all my characters’ names? Are sentences ending in prepositions really the end of the world?
I’m sure you’ve been there before. Maybe it wasn’t writing. Maybe it was exercise or a reading challenge. And the only advice I have is to start small. I have to embrace the little victories in order to work up to the big triumphs. I write in workbooks with writing prompts. I use the back of Jane Austen postcards to write flash fiction and poetry. Once I start trudging up that hill, my legs remember how to find their footing faster. Breathing gets easier and I remember to enjoy the scenery.
And when all else fails I pull out my postcard and read dear Jane’s (because, in my mind Jane Austen and I are friends) advice:
“I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am.”