Not Writing…by Jennifer Probst

on December 4, 2018 8 Replies

I cannot believe another year has passed by.

With Thanksgiving behind, and Christmas barreling up, it’s hard not to compare this December to last year. It was right after I lost my father, and I had begun to down spiral. I had two huge books due that I needed to start writing, and I’d become completely unable to write for the first time in my life.

After an intervention with my friend and publisher, Liz Berry, I realized I had to step away for a while and not even try. I was too raw and broken and needed to heal. My Muse was silent and she needed to rest and figure stuff out in order to make sense of my new day-to-day life. So, I pushed out my deadlines, took the month, and spent hours watching tv, huddled under a blanket. I spent time with my kids and my dog. I didn’t write.

Fast forward one year. I just turned in my newest book to my editor, and have a full week and a half completely free before my second round of revisions come in. Between second and third rewrites, and copyedits, I’ll be busy enough not to feel guilty.

For now, I have an entire 10 days free. Well, kind of.

When I crawl out of my office after delivering a book, it takes me a while to adjust. I’m like the mole who’s been living in the hole, and when the creature crawls out, he’s blind for a while. After I became human again, and learned how to speak and see people, I realized I had HOURS of admin work to catch up on. Emails never returned; blog posts to write; social media to update.
I dug in and though it’s a daily beast, I caught up.

Now, let me set the scene for today.

I put the kids on the bus. Make my coffee. Carry it to the office. And….

Nothing.

I made long lists of all the things I want to accomplish before my next round of edits. My task list looks something like this:

-Create and test new FB ads
-Post for full week at Author’s Exchange FB group where I’m hosting
-Compose newsletter for 12/13
-Book travel for next signing
-Gather audio samples for Steele Brothers project
-Install new keyboard
-New posts for Books and Main
-Complete front and back matter for All Roads Lead To You
–Gather teasers for new book
-New AMS ads for German translation of The Charm of You
-Xmas cards *?? Do I want to do it this year? Mom bothering me-I may have to**
-Write new blog post *thank God I’m doing this now*

Glamorous, right?

Besides my task list, I have a few months in 2019 with no releases so I was going to write a new novella, or create a short story from one of my previous series to give readers new content. I have a huge announcement coming soon regarding my next projects, and since I’ll be writing a lot next year, it would be smart to get ahead and actually begin creating some character outlines, research, or something so when January 1st rolls around I won’t be in panic mode.

Guess what I decided to do?

Nothing.

Yes, this is probably not good advice but I’m sticking to my plan and defending it to the critics who say you should always be moving hard toward your goals and your dreams, and an object in motion stays in motion, and all those wonderful pieces of advice that inspire you to get off your ass and DO IT!!!

But I don’t want to do anything. I want to nap, and read, and spend lazy time with my kids. I want to do online shopping and lunch with a friend and finish some of my Netflix series.

Last December, I had no choice. I couldn’t work. I was burnt.

This December, I choose not to work. Because I want to take a break and enjoy myself for absolutely no reason. Edits will be enough. Keeping up with social media will be enough. Responding to email will be enough.

This time, it feels good. I’m choosing not to feel guilty or lazy or like an amoeba. My workaholic tendencies are so ingrained, I struggle throughout my life between crazy bursts of madness and endless work, and then days of pure laziness because I’m too burnt out to function.

This month, I’m trying to balance.

Next month, I’ll be attacking a new year with a new idea and a brand-new word which will be my mantra. I’ll write another blog post about it next month.

But for now, this may be my last post for the holidays. Depends on my mood. I do like Best of the Year stuff, and resolutions, so if I feel like it I’ll write a post for fun.

My point to this long, blabbering, me-centric post?

If you want to take some time off, do it. Don’t apologize, don’t explain, and don’t feel guilty. We forget we are not working in an office doing filing or data entry. We are creative artists. We really do need to re-fill the well.

The best part? I feel like I’m not working but I really am. My Muse/subconscious is sifting through ideas, stories, moments and figuring out where they will be placed in my future stories. I’m living and resting and thinking. I’m becoming whole again so I can go back out and attack the great big world with a ferocious roar.

But today, I’m just going to not write.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful, fabulous readers who I appreciate every single day.

8 thoughts on “Not Writing…by Jennifer Probst”

  1. Josie Brown says:

    Well put! Brava! You’re right. We should take time to smell the flowers and plant a few seeds. Here’s to what grows out of fertile minds. Yours has always been a great example.

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you SO much Josie! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  2. Yvonne Cruz says:

    A touching newsletter. Life is full of ups and downs. Some of which are hard to climb out of. But we do it one step at a time. Finding time for yourself and family is what’s important. May the new year be one filled with joy , health , and lots of happiness. BTW , I read and reviews The Start of Something Good , and A Brand New Ending. Loved them both

    1. Jennifer says:

      Thank you so much Yvonne, I’m thrilled you loved both books and cannot thank you enough for the reviews! I hope you have a wonderful, blessed holiday season!

  3. Liz says:

    I just finished my book too! And also decided to take the rest of December off from writing. Gonna catch up on my reading and so many Christmas movies on Netflix and Hallmark to watch. Enjoy the holidays!

    1. Jennifer says:

      Liz congratulations! I’m so excited for you and let the laziness begin!!!

  4. Christmas is probably the hardest part of the year for me. Christmas is such a huge deal in my family! I decorate like mad, the family gathers and spends lots of time together, and the baking! Factor is a day job, that recently piled on yet another task I’m assigned, and I’m feeling pressured. I hate that feeling….I want to enjoy Christmas. So I also decided I’m not going to angst over writing. It helps that I have no current deadling, although I do have revisions to work on and a new book to plot. IF I have time, IF something pops into my mind, then I’ll scurry to write it down. Otherwise, not going to pressure myself. I hope you enjoy your holidays!

    1. Jennifer says:

      HI Pam! YES I so agree Xmas is such a crazy time and big with family I think it’s wonderful for you to take a break and shift focus for a bit away from the writing. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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