Being a writer is a process in insanity. Seriously. We mix creativity (which is a monster out of our control), our drive for expression, art, and understanding, with entrepreneurism. We are both introverts and extroverts. We create in the most intimate and vulnerable ways, then turn around and push it out into the world with our armor, shields, and swords.
Basically, never become a writer unless you're also willing to have a smidge of a personality disorder.
Sometimes this hurts. Like, really, really hurts. The transition isn't easy. If we have to force it, expect there to be some emotional backlash down the pipe. For example: you've just spent three solid weeks writing thousands of words a day. The real world has slipped away and you live more inside your fantasy world than the space you physically inhabit. You've stripped away all your defenses in order to feel as your character feels, hurt and hope and your character hurts and hopes.
It's a raw place.
Not at time to be standing up on your rock proclaiming for all the world to criticize you.
And yet...the publishing schedule does not always allow for those precious moments to heal inside your cocoon and slowly reemerge into the harsh, bright world. Nope. Sometimes you've got work to do and that means tying those shoelaces tighter, cinching in your belt, and plummeting headfirst into the Colosseum of life without your Gladiator armor at the ready.
You can do it. You've done it before and you'll do it again. BUT IT SUCKS! And in the end you are bruised, battered, and probably wondering if you'll survive the night.
(Hint: You will.)
And despite all your best laid plans to have publishing and marketing time well insulated from your creative time, your schedule will fall apart again one day, and you will be forced to shift your creative gears, grinding as you seek out the right one.
If you are forced to switch from creative mode to entrepreneur mode in the blink of an eye remember that it's okay to have a freak out afterward. In fact, the one thing you can plan for in a time of no planning, is that you will and should take some time afterward to have an OMFG WHAT DID I JUST DO moment. Take several days. Do not beat yourself up over being overloaded and do not feel less than because you became overwhelmed by the firestorm of the other half of your personality/job.
Having just done this myself, here are a few tips that have helped get me back on me feet faster than ever:
- Admit you are overwhelmed and accept that this is normal
- Talk to your friends. Not just once or twice, but many times. As much as you need to in order to stay tethered to that friendly connection. (And talk about more than the book.)
- Have a person. Someone (a friend, lover, sister, cousin, fellow writer) who knows your personality and your deep doubts and fears. They will hear what worries you most even when you can't put it into words. Let them reassure you. Accept that they are right and your doubts are wrong.
- Get out of your routine. Go away for the weekend, have an outdoor adventure, visit someone you haven't seen in a while...do something to put yourself outside of the microcosm of writing and publishing. It will get you away from the notifications, the routine, and help break you out of the little dark hole.
- Speaking of notifications: TURN THEM OFF. There is a time to be on top of book sales, ad views, clicks, and ROI. And then there is the point where you've done what you can do and you need to let it go. Close your browser, hide your phone, turn off all the dings, alerts, and shortcuts that let you sneak a quick peek when no one is looking.
- Don't do social media for at least three days. Call someone. Have lunch or dinner with a friend. Hand write letters. Download Facebook's group app if you use a lot of groups and want to stay informed but do not open Facebook! All the social medias will still be there in three days.
- Sleep. If you have trouble with all the anxiety, then talk to your doctor about a sleep aide that might be beneficial to you in times of extreme stress. The most important thing is that you actually get some quality sleep.
- Drink water and eat yummy food.
- Have fun again. The best book and marketing ideas come from being out and enjoying your life. Go do something really fun.