If any of you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have picked up on the fact that I’ve been in a bit of a freak-out over a story that I’ve been working on lately. A novella, really. If fact, I’ve even blogged about it here. I knew that part of my problem is what often happens to writers: burn-out.
I was involved with so many projects last year that by the time autumn came, I was starting to feel the heat from encroaching burn-out. Different writers have different levels of tolerance, and burn-out can happen at different times. For me, I find that it generally tends to happen toward the end of the year, probably because the holidays start to play a factor in activities and obligations.
Another issue is the need and/or desire to get something finished by the end of the calendar year. There are any number of reasons for that: contractual obligations, taxes, award eligibility, project continuity, and that pesky old whip across the back, the personal achievement goal.
But this pressure that we put on ourselves only serves to work against us. We might even get sloppy with our work in a desperate attempt to get something finished by a certain time. And it’s not fair to us. We tend to become our own slave masters, beating ourselves into submission. Unless you have someone doing that for you in a really sexy outfit, it’s not fun.
I’m trying to learn not to do this to myself. It’s hard because old habits are hard to break. Unless you will be in breach of contract by not delivering something at the end of the calendar year, I say, take a step back and see if that goal is realistic. If not, let it go. Life will still go on and your goals will still be met, just on a different schedule.
Now that the holidays are over, I feel a bit more balanced and have already dove into new projects and picked up older ones. I really don’t know if I’ll accomplish everything I want to this year, but I can’t approach it with such angst. It will get done when it gets done.
By the way, if you’re in the New York area (or will be during the last week of January), I want to invite you to join Ann Aptaker, Jane Hoppen, Susan X Meagher, Cindy Rizzo, and me at Bureau of General Services—Queer Division for NEW YORK WRITER DYKES on Thursday, January 29, beginning at 7:00 p.m. It’s at The Center (as in LGBTQ Community), 208 West 13th Street, Room 210. Let us know if you’re planning on attending by checking in on the Facebook page, although it isn’t necessary.
At the risk of seeming melodramatic, I offer you “Let It Go,” from Disney’s Frozen. enjoy.