Don't Wait for New Year's Eve

Saturday, November 14, 2020

One of the reasons I like the turn of a new year is that it feels like a refresh button has been hit. It's like all of a sudden I have a brand new start. My writing suddenly feels fresh again, like the smell of grass after a rainstorm. I think that's why everyone tries out New Year's Resolutions. 

And I don't know about you, but I could sure use a refresh button. I haven't been writing like I used to like I have hit a major creative slump. Even with having story ideas, and a few I'd like to work on, I just can't muster up the energy to work on anything. 

If this sounds familiar, and you are struggling too, here's what I encourage you to do: 

Don't wait for New Year's Eve to hit the refresh button. 

Instead think of it like this: every day is your refresh button. If this year has shown us anything is that we have no idea what tomorrow will bring. So, if you are feeling down on yourself, because you are 14 days too late on starting National Novel Writing Month, or you've neglected your novel for the last few months, or you've not been writing consistently for months (or even years), don't let that stop you from hitting the refresh button. 

Sometimes it can feel like if we've gone so far down the wrong direction, it's almost too late to turn back and try again. But that's not the case! It's never too late to try again, to start fresh, and to get back on track. 

So, if you are living on Self-Doubt Avenue in Slump City, it's time to move. After you finish reading this post, promise to do one small thing to get on the right direction. Here are a few ideas, in case you need some: 

  • Remove any apps on your smart devices that are major distracting points for you (games, social media, etc). 
  • For ten minutes, write down everything that's on your mind and don't stop until your time is up. Write about what's distracting you or stressing you or bearing down on you. Getting thoughts on paper can help you refresh your mind. Make this a daily habit.
  • Submit your writing somewhere at least once this week.
  • Don't just commit to starting your new writing schedule or writing habit tomorrow. Do it today. So often I make plans and keep putting off good habits until it feels better. That never works.
  • Finish something. Sometimes the act of finishing something is the best thing to do for your writing. Even if it's awful, get to the end.
  • Do something outside of your creative box. Sometimes trying a new creative thing, even if you feel like you are terrible at it, sparks a new part of your brain. Doing art this past year, even silly doodles has helped me stay creative, which helps my writing overall. 
Basically, don't wait to start good habits and to re-energize your writing. Do it today. Happy writing!

Nicole Pyles is a writer and blogger living in the Pacific Northwest. Visit her latest updates on her two blogs World of My Imagination and Lady Unemployed. Say hi on Twitter @BeingTheWriter or on Instagram at @BeingTheWriter.


Beverley Baird said...

Great advice Nicole. . Love that line "Everyday is your refresh button." Yes. I definitely need to move off "Self-Doubt Avenue in Slump City"

Nicole Pyles said...

Thanks Beverley!! I need to move too. Today is the day!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Nicole these are some very good ideas to motivate me ahead of the new year. I will definitely print these out and post them above my desk.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Thanks for this, Nicole! The past two weeks have been incredibly challenging--more than the past two years--and lots of changes are happening in my household. I'm doing NaNo on top of that and was beginning to get down on myself for falling behind, but then this morning I wrote a couple thousand words. While I'm not caught up, it's still something on the page!

What helped me this morning was a 10-minute prompt sprint, like you suggested in your post. I'll share it with you because I found it inspiring.

The prompt: Is there a window in your WIP that could provide a view into your narrator's interior via her view out that window? Set your timer for 10 minutes and write that view as it appears in daylight. Then set your timer for another 10 minutes and write that view from the same window at night.

I'm currently at 15,696 words for NaNo. I should be at around 23k right now, but there's still a lot of time. I could catch up! :) But I've also been taking some of the shorter pieces I'm writing during NaNo, finishing them, and submitting them to contests.

Nicole Pyles said...

Thank you Jeanine!! I'm glad this inspired you!

Nicole Pyles said...

Oh that's a fantastic prompt!! I like the idea of seeing my character from a totally new perspective. It's like helping my mind's eye see my WIP in a totally new way!

Evelyn Krieger said...

Nicole, this is perfect timing for me as I slug through revising the first draft of my middle-grade novel I told myself I'd finish months ago. We creatives tend to set the bar high. Now, if anytime, we should be easier on ourselves. What helped me was to take one action step each day: revise a chapter, network with other authors, submit to a contest, work on an essay idea, or just organize my desk. Good luck to you and all!

Nicole Pyles said...

I love your advice! One action step at a time. That's perfect!

Cathy C. Hall said...

Great suggestions, Nicole. Now if I could 'em. :-)

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