Picking Up the Pieces
I initially launched my website over a year ago, in April 2016. I started publishing Slapshot!, chapter by chapter, at the same time. At first, things went really smoothly. Then, the situation started to deteriorate.
I was already working two jobs—my full-time, Monday-to-Friday, nine-to-five office job, and a side gig as a freelance editor. I’d get up, go to work, come home, and do more work. It was often a struggle to fit anything else in—workouts, reading, writing, watching TV, hanging out with friends, or spending time with my boyfriend or my family.
Writing ultimately ended up taking a backseat—as hobbies inevitably do when you’re trying to make ends meet. I kept promising myself I’d get back on track, I’d set a weekend aside, that I’d make my writing a priority. I know from personal experience how important it is to me—not just because I like doing it, but because it helps keep me mentally grounded. When I’m not writing, when I’m not creating, my mental health suffers.
Promises can ultimately mean very little. So it was in this case; despite all my grandiose promises to myself, I wasn’t able to put writing in a more priority position in my life. Even when I promised more to my readers, I couldn’t deliver. I left a string of positive, upbeat updates teasing more, suggesting there were “big things” in the works, and then nothing happened.
In January of this year, I switched jobs. I left the office nine-to-five and started my own freelance business, building on the side gig I’d already established. Things have been going very well with that, but obviously, it takes a lot to start up a business. Add in moving house and my boyfriend traveling quite a bit, and it’s taken me six months to get to a state of quasi-normal.
The good news is I have a lot of time to write and work on creative projects. The bad news? I probably still don’t have enough time—but that’s besides the point.
Becoming My Own Worst Nightmare
The problem now was two-fold: I have a lot of projects I want to work on, and I don’t know where to start. I also had fallen quite behind on the website, essentially disappearing for weeks on end, popping up with a chapter or two, then disappearing again. That’s not how I want to run my website. That’s not how I want to treat my writing. And it is most certainly not how I want to treat my readers.
I used to be very involved in fandom and writing fanfiction. I never quite understood writers who would start a fic, then eventually fall off the map. They’d start with fairly regular updates, then maybe update once a month or so. Then six months would go by, and they wouldn’t update. It used to drive me crazy.
And while I understand those writers much better now, that kind of behavior still drives me crazy. I don’t like it when other people do it. And I definitely don’t want to do it myself. It’s the old “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
I had two options. One was take a break and kick start some of these projects, overhaul the website, create new content, and relaunch my efforts. Or I could continue plodding along, working haphazardly at this project and that project as the mood struck, making creeping progress on one thing or another, and probably missing updates.
Obviously, you know what I did. I took a break. In that time, I really solidified my schedule and my commitment to my writing. I figured out just how to balance my work, my life, and my writing. I’m still struggling with the issue of “too much inspiration” and “too many projects,” but I was able to crank out 35,000 words in a few days, write a bunch of blog posts, do some videos, typeset and proof a book, and still have time to do all my paid work and my chores and, yes, even have a social life.
I’m really, really happy about this. And I feel a lot more confident about my ability to juggle all of the creative projects I want to take on in the future.
Will there be days when I don’t feel inspired, when I’m only able to write a few words? Sure! I’m confident there’s still going to be weeks where my usual flow and schedule is interrupted, where everything is upside down and I miss my workouts and my writing sessions thanks to deadlines. There’s going to be weeks where I just can’t find the inspiration or the time. There are still going to be times when I miss website updates …
But I’m hoping they’re going to be fewer and far between. Not like it was over the last few months before the hibernation. Not this update and then disappear for weeks on end—unless I’m on vacation.
I know this all sounds good in theory, and I know it’s something of a pattern for me to promise big things and then not deliver. To say I’m going to do something, to say I’m going to revise what I’m doing, and then just keep on doing the same old thing.
I’m hoping, though, that this time will be different.
And I’m hoping you’ll stick with me.