Well, the week's worth of a break has been good for me. Though I didn't get as much writing done as I'd hoped in the mean time, I've had a good chance to think.
While I still agree with my earlier assessment that part of my struggle with writing was my lack of knowing where I was headed with my plots, talking it over with my family has made me realize that I've been going about this challenge all wrong for me.
I'm the type of person whose creativity tends to shrivel up and die under pressure. Problem is that I tend to have wild streaks of ambition, where I think during momentary lapses of sanity that I can juggle every project idea I have simultaneously and still have a life and be happy on top of that. Well, simply put, I can't.
Because of my stubborn insistence, trying to get my word goal each and every single day, then internally beating myself up when I couldn't, I just ended up making myself miserable. I didn't enjoy writing anymore because I'd foolishly allowed it to become more about quantity than quality or content. In the beginning, I'd been happy with what I was putting down, but it started to deteriorate quickly. So I wasn't meeting my own standards, which only adds to the feeling of failure. And when I feel a failure, it's a sure trigger for depression.
On top of that, I spent so much time at the computer in my daily struggle to drag my word goal out of me, that I had all but stopped actively participating in my life. I barely read, or drew, or involved myself in anything but the barest of family activity. Not much makes me feel worse than knowing that. I have three young children that need me, from four months to four years old, and knowing that they won't stay little for long makes me desperate to enjoy this time with them while I can. I'd completely tossed aside my balance, which is already a struggling area for me.
So, instead of focusing on getting a minimum number of words every day, I will strive for my goal while doing the best I reasonably can. I will not force myself to write when I don't know where I'm going or if for some reason can't get myself into the state of mind I need for creativity. I will not forgo sleep, unless inspired. I know that will mean that some days I'll get a lot of words, some days a few, some none. I may reach my goal and I may not. Either way, I'm giving myself permission to say that's acceptable.
I'm definitely going to keep writing. I am a writer after all and I get depressed if I don't. But I'm also going to put a leash on my workaholic, over-ambitiousness and give myself time to 'stop and smell the roses' every once in a while. Take a drive for fun. Spend time with my kids. Take a run(okay, more like walk). Draw something or make a piece of jewelry. Get hopelessly lost in a book(or three). Try to learn a language(I have been wanting to work on my Japanese lessons!). The things that I love the most. Because is life really worth living, if you don't actually live it to its fullest?
Over this past week, I've written perhaps a thousand words, all of them toward plotting and scene sequences for various novels I'm working on. I won't be counting them because I completely lost track of what was written and when. I did read both A Cast of Stones and The Hero's Lot by Patrick W. Carr. Now if only January wasn't quite so far away :D Nah, as eager as I am to read the next in the series, January can come as it pleases. For today, I'm going to take my kiddos on a nice long drive and have a little fun!
Have a good day all!