So if y’all haven’t figured it out yet, I am a complete nerd. Like. Full on, most of my wardrobe is video game related t-shirts, we have almost every Nintendo console (missing only NES and Virtual Boy) in our living room, if we could hang pictures in this apartment it’d mostly be RvB, LotR, and Storm Trooper stuff. But lately I’ve been thinking about something. This was kind of kicked off by my husband (who is trained as a game designer, though that’s not his current job) complaining that, while he enjoys playing video games, he always gets frustrated when he plays them instead of working on his own stuff.
For years, I’ve never had that feeling. If I’ve been working on a story or a book I have no problem with taking breaks to game. I used to run a ton of forum RPs, I think my record was 14 at one time. D&D is a newer thing for me (as in, since about 2011) but when I play it, I love it. And I never understood when my husband would say that he’d get frustrated instead of being able to relax. Until this past week.
I’m at the point in writing my book that I finished the first draft, went through three revisions, and sent it off to beta readers. However, after I did that I realized I hated my ending, so I’ve been working on a new ending. This new one adds about 10 chapters and hopefully at least 10k words to the word count (I always come in around 60k words in drafts 1-4 of a book and only near the end does it balloon). This past weekend, I’d just finished the 4th of the new chapters (so I’d written chapters 1-26 and then started re-writing from the end of chapter 22 onwards to writing a whole new 23-26 and then am working on 27-36) and sent those off to my beta readers and was a bit warn out. Turns out chapters 25 and 26 are about 10k words so I worked myself pretty hard.
I decided to wind down with some RP with a good friend of mine. She’s been extremely helpful over the past few months and is actually one of my betas. But, as we were RPing I was hating myself for not working on the book (even though I’d just finished writing 2k that day) and opened my file again to start working as I RP’d. However, I was tapped out on writing for that day and so couldn’t make progress without completely hating it.
That’s when I finally understood what my husband meant. I wasn’t working on my book because if I worked on it, I’d just have to rewrite later because I hated it and was tapped out at the time. If I worked on my book, I risked becoming burnt out and putting it down for months before I could pick it back up and keep going. But I was hating RPing because, though it is writing, it wasn’t writing on my own stuff. It was the wrong kind of creative for that moment.
If you’re going through something similar, know that you aren’t alone and know that it’s okay to take a break. It is going to suck. You won’t be able to work on whatever it is you want to, but you’ll regret it if you burn yourself out.
Anyway, I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy New Year! Let’s do our best to hone our craft in 2019.