Writing is lonely work. In fact, it can be downright hard most days. Delving into our hearts, unearthing painful memories in the pursuit of scribbling honest words can be exhausting and draining. We craft a book, edit it for just as long as it took to write it, and cross fingers it means something to someone other than us. Oh, and of course there's the hope we sell a few copies. Who's kidding who? It's important for us to sell books. It's our validation, our proof this isn't just a fun hobby.
If we're lucky, and I count myself as one of those lucky authors, we develop a following of wonderful readers and we continue writing.
However, even the lucky ones have bad days. We experience moments when we believe we'll never sell as much as the next guy. We endure harsh reviews or no reviews at all. We can go weeks wondering if anyone has been impacted by our work. We stare at the manuscript and wonder what the hell we were thinking. "Surely I didn't write that crap?"
A writer's world can become a dark place, full of brooding nooks and crannies. Even the best authors suffer from cases of This-is-shit-itis.
So what do we do?
Well, firstly make sure you have a sense of perspective. I've always adhered to the old adage, "This, too, shall pass." Feelings of inadequacy are bound to dissipate. Yes, we might feel as profound as Donald Duck, but chances are we have valuable messages and stories to impart. Remember the kind comments you've received. Reread them, if necessary.
Step away from the laptop or notebook for a while. If you're in a rut, glaring at a blank page won't help. Do some chores. Talk to someone. Send emails. Catch up with an old friend. Try a new restaurant. Do something you've never done before. Take a class. Teach a class. You'll return refreshed and might even be able to use your experiences.
I adore beautiful gardens. When I can, I visit large parks and wander, breathing in the scents of roses and lilacs and lilies-of-the valley. This feeds my soul. And when I fire up the laptop afterward, chances are my manuscript will benefit from the time away.
Writing is isolated work, despite the social media barrage in our world. When we work in these circumstances, it's easy to lose sight of the little things in life that make us happy...those things aside from stringing words together and making pretty sentences. We forget our hearts need nourishment, just as we sometimes forget to eat while editing chapters.
Don't wait for the someone else to feed your soul. Go out and do it yourself. Inspiration is right there, waiting for you around the bend.