This week I relearned something important about myself. I came pretty close to burnout this spring and summer and so once RWA was done, I was trying to be extra careful with myself. I gave myself permission to write at a pace that felt more natural to me. It's a good strategy and one that I need to embrace more as I often find myself pushed beyond my limits by my own perfectionism and unwillingness to admit there's a problem.
However, as much as I feel it was important to give myself time to recover, there is also the reality of maintaining my business as a writer. And the reality is that the rest of my life is hectic and stressful enough that it will always feel better to sit and veg in front of the TV and do cross-stitch instead of sitting at the keyboard and creating stories.
So I need to push myself, but not push myself too hard. It would be simple if there was only one piece of advice that a person needed to follow but the truth is that everyone has to find the balance point that works for them. Everyone has a sweet spot between pushing and self-care, between listening to their mind and body and ignoring their inner fears. And to make it even more challenging, that sweet spot will change depending on circumstances so even if a person has found it before, it doesn't mean that spot will continue to work for them in the future.
This is one of the reasons why I get frustrated with cookie cutter writing advice like "write every day" and "push through writer's block." The intent is to keep people from giving up which is good but it ignores the reality that some people are already pushing past the point of healthiness and what they need to do is slow down and take care of themselves, not keep pushing.
Starting next week, I'm going to go back to the weekly writing grid to share my progress. I hate having to record blank spots during the week so hopefully I'll be more motivated to sit down and write. I'm going to continue giving myself the weekend off, aiming to write every day from Monday to Friday, with a word goal of 800 to 1500 for each day. I think that's a sustainable goal and it will let me keep making progress on the third Spirit Sight short story (which I really need to find a title for but so far none seem right).
The plot for book 5, Division, is coming along nicely. I've got some really good moments set up for the major plot points and I really like how the character of Annika is developing in my head.