Time to Give Yourself a Fresh Start

Monday, October 11, 2021
Fresh squeeze? Fresh start!

Have you ever needed a fresh start? 

As I see the end of the year drawing closer, I usually have a habit of looking back at the goals that I had at the start of the year and the intentions that I set for myself. I realized most of these goals have changed. At first, things changed when I started a new job in January, and they changed again when I lost that very job over the summer. Now that we're in October, I'm eager for a fresh start. 

The question is: how can I do that? 

 Seasons changing always lead me to a stage of transition, and as the summer ends and cooler weather begins, I'm kind of in a slump. I thought I'd share some of the ways I'm hitting that restart button, and maybe it will inspire you. 

Limit social media. 
Recently, I took a major step back from social media and it's been almost two weeks since I really took an active approach. Frankly, I don't miss it at all. The problem with social media is that I get the "why not me?" disease, which isn't all that easy to overcome. I get it when I realize someone gets way more likes than I do on a post, or more followers, or better news to share, or more clever things to say. I don't deal with that all the time, but if I'm in a slump, I'm more inclined to get there in that mind frame. So, taking a step away from it all has been a great feeling. I know social media is important for an author's platform, but if you are in a slump, consider taking a step away from it. 

 Stop adding to your to-do list. 

I have a horrible habit of committing to things I later regret. For example, I started reading regularly again and with that brought back my habit of accepting books to read and review for authors. As a result, I overcommitted myself. I'm nearly caught up now, and I've even updated my blog page to announce that I'm not taking any more feature requests. So, I've learned a lesson: stop adding to your to-do list. 

If you are in a slump, it may be a sign you are stressed. So, do a self-check and figure out what you can cut out of your to-do list. Yes, this means you may have to use the word that I personally struggle to say in these circumstances: no. 

With that said though, make sure you actually complete the stuff on your to-do list. If I have tasks looming over my head that I had agreed to, and I'm putting off, that stresses me out. Lately, I've been finishing up various commitments, and it's helped me feel a lot better (with each checkmark of completion, I'm reminding myself to not add to that to-do list). I'm also leaving room for the fact that I may need to tell some people I don't have time for something anymore. 

Get rid of clutter. 

Did you know that decluttering can help relieve anxiety or stress? I also find it incredibly invigorating. I love organizing closets, my notebooks, and other spaces that tend to attract clutter. However, even if you don't have physical items to get rid of or organize, try your digital world. As a result of cleaning up some digital files, I discovered a story I thought I lost, and I created a new system for keeping things organized. 

Also, and while this may shock some of you, but I've also gotten rid of many of the e-books I had downloaded. Many of them were books I thought I would read and after some careful skimming, I now realize I probably won't. Now my "to be read" digital folder is emptier, and I'm promising myself that the next time I download a book, I'll actually read it (or won't buy it until I know for sure that I will enjoy it). And for some reason, this made me feel better and relieved at the same time.

 So far, that's the approach I'm taking, and I'm also planning to tackle some of my previous short stories that have collected digital dust this year. Also, with a slump, consider the fact that your reading, writing, and creative tastes of changed. I find that's the case for me lately, and I'm largely uninterested in some of the things I found so fascinating earlier this year. Take that into consideration and venture off into the unknown. See what you discover.


Angela Mackintosh said...

A lot of writers I've talked to lately have been in a slump or are simply burned out because of all the screen time and the lingering pandemic; and we're also realizing it's almost the end of the year and taking inventory on what we've accomplished.

This is the time I most want to "catch up" and make the year count for something. I haven't submitted all year, so that's one of my end year goals, and there's a couple of markets on your list I want to submit to. I'm also considering doing NaNo again, just for the accountability and camaraderie. I do owe some writers book reviews I promised, so I'm going to knock those off my list. But I'm also not being too hard on myself. Moving took so much out of me! We got rid of SO much clutter it felt like a huge accomplishment. Now I need to tackle my digital files since I'm running out of icloud space. Lol.

Margo Dill said...

I love all of these practical suggestions, and I love that you gave us suggestions. This is a great post with these takeaways! Thanks, Nicole. :)

Nicole Pyles said...

@Angela: I think the lingering pandemic and way too much screen time has had an impact on me. It feels like 2020 and 2021 are just one long meshed together year.

And moving is such a huge task. I'm hoping to end the year stronger too. I have a few short stories that have had far too many rejections for me to feel good about sending out any more so I'm hoping to breathe some new life into them. Here's to a strong finish!

@Margo: Thank you so much! :)

Renee Roberson said...

I'm in the same boat! Cleaning off my desk is always the first thing I do after a big deadline so I can start fresh. But I also need to do a major deep clean of the files on my computer--there is so much stuff to purge! I'm also thinking about doing Nano this year since I already have that thriller novel outlined so I think I would have to scale back the useless social media scrolling as a necessity there, too.

Nicole Pyles said...

@Renee - I feel like cleaning and organizing gives me such a fresh start! I still have more to go with the files on my computer.

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