Ever feel like quitting on a project that once held you in its grips? You dove in, full of excitement, but somewhere deep into the project you lost that spark, and now you feel like giving it up? Don't! Read on for my tips on how to reverse the negativity, because you're not alone.
In his Psychology Today post on creativity, Dr. Grant Hilary Brenner wrote, "When out of step, the creative process can spiral into loneliness, even despair, leaving you feeling excommunicated and dead inside." These are the times when you need to reach out for creative inspiration, or for help.
Creativity requires a lot of brain work. It is often draining on the mind. Your brain wilts in your head, and hovers its spongy finger over the abort button. When this happens, step away from your work and try these tips:
Join a Creative Community (or two or three):
I found a few creative communities for writers on Twitter. I filled up my "following" list with authors, publishers, editors, and agents. From there I found other writer's, freelancers, and aspirers to connect with. It isn't enough to follow them, or even for them to follow you; you need to be engaged and suck up their positive energy. Search for hashtag games that the writer's you are following participate in. Hashtag games are live events that start with a hashtag and lead a topic or theme of conversation. Participants use the hashtags within their responses to the topic question. For example, writer T.A. Hernandez created a daily hashtag game called #storyvisuals. Each day, followers of her hashtag game are given a theme to which the followers respond with a matching image or GIF, and use the hashtag #storyvisuals within their responses, so that it can be seen by the thread of followers. Hashtag games can make you feel connected with others. These types of hashtag games provide a daily dose of writing inspiration and engagement!
There are other hashtag events that require a bit of a lengthier involvement. They are more like hashtag channels, that lead various topics of conversation that center on the followers' interests. A few great examples are: #storysocial, #writerslifechat and #storycrafter. These hashtag 'games' are hosted events that occur on scheduled days and times. They are abundantly helpful if you enjoy communities that share knowledge, love and encouragement.
*Ines swipes her hand through the air* Who needs that? Uh, I do.
These hashtag games, and Twitter in general, have connected me with some pretty great people! I found experts and novices that have helped to push me along in my journey, through every up and down.
(Check out post on networking)
I can't say enough about finding the right editor and bringing them along on your journey. Seriously! If I did say everything that I wanted to on this topic, the blog post would scroll on infinitely. No one wants to read a blog post that long.
The first editor-ish experience you will probably have as a writer, is soliciting Beta-Readers. While this is an important step, it does not replace the expertise that a professional editor brings to a project. It's critical for your artistry, to find an editor that both you and your work mesh with. I say this from experience. The first editor I worked with was very knowledgeable, and definitely helped me improve my novel, but there was something missing. I didn't feel passion from her with respect to my work or genre for that matter. The connection was weak.
When I began to query agents, an editor that I had e-met through Twitter reached out to me. I had always enjoyed her tweets, but I needed to do a little more research. I didn't want to just jump from editor to editor. I checked out her site and I wrote to her. She was the best decision I made in this writing journey - after my decision to write my story, of course. Cary Plocher shares the same interests in reading and a very similar sense of humor (that matters to me!). She has helped me bring my novel to a different level and has stayed with me throughout the process. My previous editor is good at what she does, and her style probably works perfectly for others - no knock on her. What I needed was different and I found it with Cary (https://thefriendlyeditor.com).
My point is that you don't have to walk this long path alone. In between drafting, revising, revising, and more revising comes querying and synopses. These steps are rife with moments of stress and despair. Synopses are beasts! Squeezing a 90,000 word novel into one or two pages seemed impossible. Cary, Cary, Cary is all I have to say.
Working with an editor does not mean that you have to surrender your work or creativity. Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction and then we can take it from there. When we feel like we are falling off of the rails, an editor with experience in the industry can help get us back on track and seeing things normally again.
A couple ways to find editors and reviews on them:
Editorial Freelancers Association - Don't be afraid of the term freelance, just see it as a means to have more personal control over the projects they work on. List your editing job, and the budget you are working with and the editors come to you.
Kid Lit 411 - A one stop information shop for all your kidlit information needs.
Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary
Agents - (Barnes and Noble)
When you feel the pang of rejection, surround yourself with positive support like twitter communities, library clubs even book clubs. Read stories about others who have been through the same like Stephen King's On Writing.
If you are thinking about giving up, again I say don't. Many times the opportunity is right there, just when you are about to quit.
(Related Post - Work Life Balance)