Creative exhaustion + juggling

I’m currently sat outside in the sunshine in what is the hottest day of the year so far here in England, and in London where I am. (My car temperature gauge measured 28.5ºC!). Yet it was snowing just a couple of weeks ago. Strange times that we’re living in. Btw – you know it’ s hot when your iPhone stops playing YouTube suddenly, with an alert saying “Your iPhone needs to cool down before you can use it again”.

In last week’s post I shared my publishing ambitions, and how attending London Book Fair had only helped to re-affirm this. For those 3 days last week, Tuesday to Thursday, energy management was crucial, especially as I was out till late evening on two of those nights – and it takes anything from 7-90mins to get back home form ‘town’. Friday came as a welcome relief, before I went to an Indian wedding on Saturday, and then went to Church on Sunday evening and hung out afterwards. Monday I had a meeting with one of the panellists from LBF that I’d emailed, and then had a Sikh event in the evening which, again, saw me get back late.

When I’m away in London, I can forget about things like hydrating and nourishing myself, and I think the accumulation of busy days/evenings led to my feeling tired and under the weather when I got back late on Monday night. I then did the exact opposite of the sensible thing, and ended up staying up through the night; I wish I could say I was being productive – in short, I’ve had a long-standing issue when it comes to ‘being’ online – it certainly has been a release/crux of sorts when I’m particularly over-stimulated/tired/have lots of things going on; it’s something I’m working through in therapy).

creativ exhaustion.jpg
credit: geralt

In other words, I’ve had a fair bit going on and the priority to gain experience in publishing still remains, having had over a year off and the whole ‘job thing’ being a personal pain point of mine for so long. With my being so busy and active of late, the exhaustion also equates to creative exhaustion. Yesterday, as I sat in bed before going to sleep, I got down to writing just a couple of pages – the first story pages I’d written in a few days.

I’m trying to be kind to myself and, whereas before I was just wanting to get this book finished and out in the world asap, I’m now content with going at a slower pace. The key thing for me is keeping going, even if only gradually. Though I would still really like to maintain momentum and write at least a couple of days a week for, say, 30 minutes to an hour, I’m also conscious that – when I am working full-time – it will be more challenging to manage my (creative) energy with the job (and 3 blogs!); at this stage, I’m just trying not to worry about the future and take it as it comes.

Originally intended as a short story, it has now well and truly become a novella and is on it’s way to becoming a novel. I think I’ll even feel a little disappointed if it ends of falling short of the 50,000 words “novel mark”!

As I’ve previously talked about on this blog, some heavy editing will be needed – and I may also be weaving more into the plot to add some complexity and multi-dimensionality. I know I’m going to have to keep an eye on the pesky perfectionist in me, and I’ll do well to embrace the “don’t think, just do!” mentality I’ve been trying to adopt of late.

Another challenge for me is reigning myself in, and not getting carried away with so many creative projects – e.g. poetry and acting. These are two things which, as a curious and increasingly expressive/creative guy, I’m intrigued about. I actually released my very-amateurish first self-narrated poem to the world just yesterday on Twitter. It’s definitely the closest I’ve felt to being Eminem, I must say.

Like my journalling, poetry is just an amazing outlet for me to express my innermost thoughts, feelings and emotions from my core. Writing is definitely the medium through which I feel most comfortable and effective when it comes to expressing myself. I’m not much of a talker or a sharer when it comes to ‘my stuff’ – therapy and writing are filling that void for me right now. (Psst – that said, I have recently been quoted in a couple of articles about my mental health – this one is the most recent, published just today: 19 men share what it’s like to take anti-depressants). It feels like this week’s post is, apart from being a rambling one, as much of a reminder to myself than anything else. A reminder of that fact that life has priorities, and whilst these exist my energy is a limited resource. that I am only human, and best when I focus my efforts on just 1 or 2 projects, rather than a whole bunch. That with writing a story, maintaining 3 blogs, and focusing on a job search that is now in full swing – plus various extra-curricula activities I’m now involving myself in (some publishing-/book-related, some religious-related), as well as trying to consciously cultivate closer friendships…. I will need to be EXTRA-kind to myself over the coming days and weeks!

I hope that you, too, are kind to yourself when it comes to your writing and your life as a whole – and remember to love yourself and respect yourself in the same way that you probably do with others, rather than hold yourself to ridiculously high and punishing standards. #guiltyascharged

Right, I’m off to start my ’10 minutes of story’ on my list for today…

Have a lovely weekend folks ✨☀️

PS. Do check out my 1st recorded poem if you get a chance, on Soundcloud
& the ‘The Metro’ men’s mental health articles I contributed to can be found here and here

✏ Written: Thursday, 12th April @ 2.31pm

A.B. Guy | articles | newsletter 💌

What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
What ‘creative projects’ are you working on, at the moment? And – how good are you when it comes to being kind to yourself, and/or prioritising as needed? 💙

 

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A *big* week (with a catch)

So here’s the deal. It’s been an awesome week. Not in the story-writing sense, but awesome nevertheless. Let me explain.

This week was… London Book Fair! 🙌🏽 Oh my gosh was it exciting. Of course, as a writer and story-lover, and also as someone trying to get into the publishing world; I’ve actually been writing about this over on my new boy meets pub blog – check it out. (Yep, another blog, I’m crazy). I mentioned both my publishing job search and London Book Fair, last week.

Even though I’ve paced myself this week, giving myself some time to recover, recharge and exercise, it’s been a pretty full-on three days with a lot to take in. The bookish community is a lovely one (I keep using that word this week, I feel so British), and it’s been nice to meet some folks IRL as well as the amazing ones I’ve ‘met’ online so far.

On the first day of the Book Fair, I somehow managed to do some writing mid-late pm, sat in a coffee shop trying to recover before dinner with my friends that evening. What I’ve realised is that when I’m exhausting from socialising and such, I also feel creatively depleted. It wasn’t used. But I’m glad I put pen to paper and got some words out.

Whilst I’m focusing on the job search, I’m trying to be kind to myself; even if I’ve written just a teeny, tiny amount (like this week), I’m moving forward.

Besides, there’s a fair chunk to go of the first draft, and then I know there’s a heavy first edit to follow that. But it’s all good. Us authors (well, wannabe-authors, but f*ck it, I wanna call myself an author!) are human. Which means it’s good for us to go out and meet other like-minded souls and writers, like I was able to do this week.

Here are some highlights (get the full scoop over here):

– The ‘Society of Young Publishers’ held 2 really useful events at the Book Fair, and I also became a member last week which includes lots of useful stuff, including discounted tickets to their social events
– I met some lovely (that word again) folks on Wednesday evening, which apparently is always ‘the busiest day’ of the three.
– I realised there are hundreds more publishers than I’d heard of – possibly 1000s!
– The worlds of traditional publishing and self-publishing are, apparently, worlds apart (perhaps obvious, but these two really don’t get along)
– There are lots of parts within publishing, some of which I don’t know an awful lot about and are worth exploring – e.g. Rights

We’re all human at the end of the day – and though getting that foot-in-the-door can often come down to networking (plus a bit of luck) – folks there were generally really nice, honest and supportive. I got some amazing advice, through the panel and conversations with others I’d met, about getting into publishing. I met some interesting people and made some useful ‘contacts’ – but, most of all, I met the sort of people I’d probably end up being friends with – which is really reassuring, and feels important to me.

I liked the whole energy of the London Book Fair, and though I don’t know where I’ll start or end up in publishing, I’m excited about this new chapter of mine. I’m hoping I can build on the excitement and momentum of the Book Fair, and be proactive the rest of this week and next with applications/emails, and hopefully things will happen.

Of course, working in publishing is different from being an author. And I’ve had to keep reminding myself that I ought to be getting into the industry for the right reasons (i.e. not just because I like books and writing – I have to actually enjoy what I’m doing day-today).

I won’t lie, with the ‘product’ in the publishing world being books, this is a big appeal – especially if it’s the sort of books I care a lot about! What also appeals is the fact that there’s an awful lot to learn (I love learning new things, I get bored if I’m not), the people are really cool and interesting and passionate aka my kinda crowd, and as cliched/vague as it sounds, something just feels right.  Hopefully this is an industry I can enjoy, learn in and grow in – both professional and as a person.

And perhaps, somewhere along the way, it may inspire me to push on with my own writing, and see my own creation(s!) come into fruition, and be shared with the world. One can only hope.

As long as I keep moving forward, enjoy the journey, and remember to be kind to myself and not so self-critical, that’ll be good enough for me.

✏ Written: Thursday, 5th April

A.B. Guy | articles | newsletter 💌

What about you? 🤷🏽‍♂️
What was the last book fair, author meet-up, or otherwise literary event that you went to? Share away – I *so* want to go along to more of these types of events now! 💙