What happens when the thing you used to love makes you so miserable that the thought of doing it means you end up sleeping for two hours instead?
How do you get love back, or is there a time when you have to look at something and just gently admit that it’s over?
It’s a tough question and one I am currently struggling with. (So, I’m not going to have any answers. But maybe you will. I’m all ears.)
I’ve always struggled with a cyclic approach to writing – there are times I can hammer out a book in three months, and times when I’d rather scoop out my own eyes with a spork than write. Normally I call those fallow periods me time to refill the well. I concentrate on reading, watching films or shows, going hiking, etc etc. But what happens when there’s never an upswing anymore, and the thought of *reading* is depressing? (confession, we are one month into the year, I have no managed to get through a single book yet.) What do you do then?
At this point I’m still grimly clinging to the idea that the love will come back and until then I have to just do the bare minimum to keep myself vaguely motivated. But it’s hard. Because I hate it right now.
Partly it’s to do with not selling any books in a while (and I have a backlog sitting on sub, waiting to go on sub). The slump magnifies my fear that I’ll never sell again, that my work is just too small for current publishing trends.
So I look at selfpub and what I see is you must have a new book out every six months, you must have a series and the work and the first must be perma free, you need to hard-market, you need to, you need to, you need to, and I just feel this crushing tsunami of despair.
None of this is me. Six months to write, revise, rewrite, edit, typeset, organise covers etc etc, for one book, and then do the same thing again as soon as it’s over? When right now I can barely get 100 words down without wanting to slit my own throat?
Yeah, I dunno.
So, do I hate writing? Do I hate writing right now? Do I hate what publishing is right now? Do I step back and away and find something else to do with my life? These are all questions I’m struggling with.
Have you ever burned out on something you used to love? (not necessarily writing: any hobby, especially if it turned professional) What if your identity is strongly tied to what you do? How did you deal with it? Did the love ever come back?