April 2018 is a big month for aspiring writers, poets, and other creatives. Currently, I am participating in Camp NaNoWriMo by writing a short story collection. Most blog posts this month will be focused on my experiences with completing this project.
As creatives, we often get sucked into our craft like it is the air we breathe. We keep writing until we either hit a wall or the piece is completed. We paint until the picture is perfect in our eyes. We don’t stop until our body stops for us.
That’s no healthy way of approaching any craft.
I recently hit another wall with my short stories collection. It was not because my muses have left. Instead, it was because I got so into my storyline that I ended up not sleeping on a day that I needed to submit a work assignment by noon. Needless to say, I ended up falling asleep right after that submission.
Letting your craft take control can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is a discovery mission where you’re learning more about the world you’re building with your own two hands. On the other hand, it can be all-consuming of your time. You find yourself having to rush through other obligations and trying your best to do it all.
That leaves you in a constant state of stress if you’re doing this all the time.
So, what do you do when the muse attacks and wants complete control?
You fight back.
You plan out your writing session and set alarms for when you take breaks. You set alarms for when you need to do other things.
It seems that simple, but in the situation, it’s hard to remember.
It’s tempting to convince yourself that you’d stop after this scene, this layer, this edit. That is how burnout happens and that’s how you end up resenting your craft.
Instead, take the time to breathe things other than your craft. Take time to experience the other facets of your life. The work will always be there, I promise you.