February was a rollercoaster month of emotions.
For starters, I missed out on a self-publishing course by a few minutes and I had an actual meltdown.
I received feedback from my beta readers.
It was a daunting experience. I couldn’t look at my emails for weeks, and when the first response came through, I skimmed it while my heart jumped into my throat, sank to my feet and back again. I felt exposed, raw and emotional and opened every document with my hands over my goddamn eyes.
I reached out to editors.
Real-life, actual editors. Of books. They all sent back sample edits on the first 1000 words of my story, and it was eye-opening. Not only that, but they ALL provided slightly different feedback, which resulted in a thought-process of: “How the fuck am I meant to choose when they all provided something of value?” After some careful consideration however, I managed to narrow it down to one that I felt noted important things, and actually seemed to care about my manuscript. She delivered her feedback in a way that didn’t make me cry, so that was a bonus.
The month of February also saw me looking after myself physically.
I ate better and consumed HUMAN-SIZED portions, rather than that for three humans. I exercised consistently and in a way that didn’t aggravate my back. For the most part, I managed to find a good balance.
I did, however, find myself struggling with the balance of social time vs. writing/working time. I was often unable to enjoy moments with friends, or a TV show with my partner, or dinner with family, because I’d be thinking so much about the work I needed to do. It’s a real struggle and I know others experience this sort of thing in their own areas of work/life balance.
Getting the guilts every minute you’re not working on your projects, deadlines, family, housework etc. is not how it’s meant to be. Taking a break doesn’t mean you don’t care, or that you don’t want it as bad as everyone else, but your brain sure will try and trick you sometimes.
February came with so many whirlwinds, including some wonderful and unexpected ones.
On a whim, I joined a supportive group online (Lemon Friday), who assist authors with their social media skills on Instagram. As a result, I’ve learned a lot (even for someone who works with social media daily) and I got to virtually meet a heap of likeminded people. Writers, bloggers, readers, people who are trying to get published. I’ve made connections with published authors – people who have been through all this before and continue to go through it. It’s been such a pleasant surprise to engage with a community that is so supportive, welcoming and encouraging.
Having conversations with people in the same boat, helped remind me about finding that balance.
It’s a constant thing I have to work on, and I think that’s the same for most people. So, on that note, whatever you’re working on – I recommend you find your people.
Connect with others doing similar sorts of things to you. Look on Instagram, or in Facebook forums, or websites. Do some research. There is SO MUCH available at our fingertips, and in my lifetime, this sort of human connection has never been more important.
Stay connected to your friends and family. Hug your pets. Eat the dessert and drink the wine. Take breaks, watch TV and whatever you do, don’t let anyone stamp that creative light out. We need it more than ever.