You live, you learn, you move on as an older and wiser person! Now that we’ve officially survived into the new year, we’d like to take a look back at 2012. For many of us, last year was all about discovering new ways to balance our lives, making sure we don’t drown ourselves in the daily mad dash of life, and preserving our joy for what we do. Here at PubCrawl, we’ve learned the following:
“Let go. Move on.” This applies to writing and to life in general. You can’t change what’s done and past. Stressing about it just takes energy away from working on the next thing—whether that be a book or something else!
Among the MANY lessons I’ve learned this year, letting go of things I can’t change might be one of the most important. I’ve learned I have the power to stress out like no one’s business, and the only thing that accomplishes is giving myself eye-twitches and sleeping problems. So I’m learning to not worry about what I can’t change and focus more on what I can affect: my own writing.
Mine’s a lesson we’ve all heard a million times but I truly learned its importance this year: Write the book YOU want to write, tell the story YOU want to tell. Even if it goes nowhere, all the blood, sweat, tears, revisions, struggles, and dark nights of the soul will still be worth it. Write the story you set out to write, you will never regret it. (The same is not always true if you write merely to please others.)
Sarah J. Maas
My biggest lesson was learning to accept that it’s 100% okay for me to take time to recharge my creative/emotional/physical batteries. Whether that means holing up in my bedroom to binge-read for days on end, baking 1,000 batches of cookies, marathoning KDramas, or just turning off my phone/computer to drown out any extra noise/distraction, I’ve come to realize that the times when I’m NOT writing/working are an equally important part of my creative process.
Because I’m a full-time writer, NOT working on something & actively writing used to give me a good amount of anxiety and guilt—as if I’d somehow get fired by the Writing Gods or lose my ability to write or just be branded a Slacker. But I learned this year that I don’t need to apologize for my creative process—and if I need to take a few hours or days or weeks off, then the only person I answer to is MYSELF. It was so liberating to realize that—and in the months since I’ve truly internalized it, my creativity & passion for writing has really skyrocketed.
The most important lesson I learned in 2012 was that I have to nurture my “muse”. That means I can’t constantly be online, I can’t constantly stress about sales or promotion or events, and I can’t worry about what’s coming next. It’s so easy to fall into those traps, but whenever I do, my writing suffers—it comes out uninspired and rushed. Plus, the process isn’t enjoyable. But when I can let go of the outside world (i.e. turn off the internet!) and find the love of writing I had before I ever knew about the business, publishing side of it all, it turns out I can write with the same abandon I used to have as a kid. It’s wonderful!!
S. Jae-Jones (JJ)
I think my most important 2012 lesson is the need for balance. I was so focused on work and so busy that I let my health and other activities I enjoy go! (Like writing. And art. And playing piano.) Focusing on work is good for my career, but focusing on me is good for my soul.
I learned about balance this year. I learned the importance of going outside to walk the dog, having dinner with my husband, watching a little TV. After feeling completely slammed in the first part of the year, I re-learned the importance of reading for pleasure, and I’m much calmer and more productive for all of this!
I’ve learned to trust my sixth sense. When I was writing Legend 3 last year, I started to recognize the same points of doubt and fear that hit me back when I was drafting Prodigy (Legend #2). I’d thought that these fears were exclusive to writing book 2. Now I know that they won’t go away–that every time I hit the halfway mark in a manuscript, I’ll feel the overwhelming fear that it isn’t good, it’ll never be good, and my readers will hate the choices I’ve made. But sometimes the choices that I think readers will hate are actually the plot points that they’ll love the best. If my gut tells me the story needs it, then it’s going in. That’s how I’ll approach my writing in 2013! And perhaps even more importantly, I’ve learned that I need to get out of the house. Sometimes I’ll get so lost working in my office that I forget about life. Friends old and new, hanging out, experiencing things, relaxing. Sometimes you have to replenish the well!
What about you guys, PubCrawl readers? What were the biggest lessons you learned in 2012? Also, we are giving away a hardcover copy of PROPHECY by Ellen Oh! Enter with the Rafflecopter form below: