Replenishing the Creative Well

Thursday, July 27, 2023


The patio from our recent vacation hone in Texas.

Almost one year ago I wrote about leaving a contract job that had taken over my life, and not in a good way. The stress over it left me with constant anxiety, sleeplessness, and irritability. I was a miserable person to be around, if I even let myself leave the house. I always felt like I needed to be planning ahead on the editorial calendar or catching up with e-mails. Even leaving my desk to go to a hair appointment would leave me feeling guilty. 

Leaving that job was a blessing for me. I’ve been able to pick and choose what projects to work on while continuing to grow my true crime podcast. With my daughter being away for her first year of college seven hours away, I made multiple trips to see her and spend time with her. I’ve been cherishing the time left with my son, who is 17 and entering his senior year of college. I’ve always tried to balance work and family time, but you gain a different perspective when your kids grow older and begin to leave the nest. You want to make sure they know how much you love and want the best for them. I also have two dogs, and in the last year, noticed that my senior rescue was starting to slow down due to arthritis. He always enjoyed (and requested!) daily walks, but they started to slow down and he had a pronounced weakness in his right side. Last week, he took a turn for the worse and became paralyzed in his back legs. We had to make the difficult decision to let him go. For a dog who had always been active it was heartbreaking to both him and us. I’m so grateful I had the past year to focus on giving him the special care and attention he needed, although I’ve been having trouble working at my desk that he used to sleep underneath during the day.
From left, Sonic, who left us last week, and right, Ruby the dachshund.

I was catching up with my writing accountability group the other day and began to feel discouraged because I haven’t made a lot of progress on the projects I said I would focus on this past year. I had hoped to have a first revision done on a suspense/thriller novel I’ve been revising but I’m only about halfway through. I had hoped to have secured more sponsorships for my podcast but I haven’t done that. Then I began to think about what I have done. I’ve spent more quality time with my family than I have in years after the hustle and bustle of endless magazine production cycles and no paid time off. I’ve traveled to some fun destinations, like the Gulf Coast, the South Carolina Coast, did a tour of several colleges in the Southeastern Conference, watched football and basketball games at my daughter’s university, attended several concerts, and recently returned from a week in Austin, Texas, where we stayed in a gorgeous lakefront dome built in the 1970s. I finally gave myself permission to read for pleasure again and have 11 completed books on my Goodreads 2023 list to show for it. I also recently signed up to work with a personal fitness coach so I can finally lose this 15 extra pounds and reset my metabolism. 

I guess my point is to never let yourself feel guilty for putting your writing on the backburner for other things. The pages will still be there when you get back to them. I look forward to getting back to work on my novel in progress very soon, and am grateful to have people in my life continuing to encourage me even when I have to take a step back. 

What do you do for enjoyment when you need to take a step back from your creative projects?

Renee Roberson is an award-winning writer and podcaster who hosts Missing in the Carolinas.


Sue Bradford Edwards said...

I sometimes need to be reminded to take time away from my desk. Going down to the lake is great because we have no internet and no cell service. It makes it really tough to obsess about work. I also like to do handwork. Monday I'm going to the Barbie movie with a group of friends from grade school. It is vital to get out and do.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Whenever you talk about your editor position, it reminds me of myself. Except that I never feel guilty about getting my hair done. Lol.

It's so important to make time for ourselves outside of work. I keep taking small steps in doing that. I felt trapped in the city, paying expensive rent and bills and never getting ahead, so I moved to a vacation destination, just so I can take a vacation! Now whenever I feel stressed I take a walk outside, look at the wildlife all around me, wade into the river or hike the mountain trail in my backyard. I also love working around the ranch on renovations--anything that gets my butt out of the chair and I can use my hands. There's always something to do and something breaking. Lol. Next on our list to fix is a leaking water tank. We are almost done setting up our art studio! And we made some great new friends (professional chefs) and dinners are amazing.

Despite what you say, I personally know you've done a lot this year, Renee! All the posts, podcasts, novel revisions, and more. You've put yourself out there in new ways, classes and guest podcasting. I'm glad you're spending time with your family and working on yourself. You deserve it! And reading counts as writing in my book. One of my favorite authors reads everything in a genre before he writes his next book, and he's written 19 novels. He just read a ton of cozy mystery then wrote a novel, and now he's reading a ton of old sci-fi. So all those books you're reading are sinking in and will help you in the long run. :)

Hugs to you for Sonic. He sounds like he was such a special guy, and I'm so glad you were able to be there for him. <3

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