Tuesday, March 14, 2017

16 Finding Release When You're Too Emotionally Drained to Write PLUS a Mystery Box Book Giveaway

We writers are creative people. Empathy is our stock in trade, our greatest gift and our greatest challenge. Statistically, scientifically, that sensitivity makes us prone to all sorts of emotional and mental challenges from depression to anxiety and everything in between. That's just a fact. We're easily riled, and the times in which we live would make Mother Theresa raise her voice.

Social media, where we express our hurt and anger to each other, turns the voices in our own heads into an echo chamber. Some of us are able to channel that into creative fuel, but I've heard from a lot of authors who have been completely debilitated by all the frustration and emotion recently. Speaking for myself, the whole past year social media was draining my concentration and my ability to feel joy in the words I was putting on the page.

I feel a little ashamed to write that. With all that's going on in the world, is it selfish to aspire to joy in the creative process? For months, I dreaded reading the news or pulling up Twitter or Facebook, and when I did it, I would sit down at my computer and stare at the keyboard with my fingers shaking.

At the beginning of October, I basically cut myself off, cold turkey. I posted a bit about the launch of Illusion, but since then I mostly go on and check mentions--fewer and fewer, obviously--scroll through my home feed a bit, and log back off again. I hate that I'm doing this because I feel like I'm missing so much, but it's keeping me sane. And gradually, I'm coming to realize that it is also fueling a resurgence in my creativity. I've been more productive in the past five months than I have been in years.

For a while, even that made me feel a little guilty, because wasn't I escaping into my work when other people didn't have any means of escape?

But then I realized that we all escape in our own ways. Many readers read to escape, to release the pressure. So how can they do that if we don't give them something to escape into, to lose themselves within? How can they find joy in what I create for them to read if I don't find joy in the writing?

Amid all the stuff that's been going on, I needed to write something completely different, so I wrote a sweet romance for adult readers set in Scotland. With men in kilts. It's been such a pleasure, and it's made me able to step back and put the rest of the world in perspective.

What about you? How are you coping with what's going on in the news and on social media? With how the world and publishing is changing?

Are you writing more? Less? Have you found a coping strategy?

I'd love to do a post of tips in the next few weeks, so leave comments below. And meanwhile, here's a mystery box giveaway of ten YA books (U.S. only, sorry) because I haven't done one in a while.

Happy writing everyone! Hope the weather is warm wherever you are!

Martina

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About the Author

Martina Boone is the author of Compulsion,  Persuasion, and Illusion in the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island trilogy from Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse, and the new upcoming romance for adult readers, Lake of Destinya magical exploration of destiny, family, healing, and the often twisted path to love set in the Highlands of Scotland--with men in kilts : ).



16 comments:

  1. I suffer from anxiety daily. I usually nap, read, or listen to music until it lessens.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Christina. I hope that helps you!

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  2. I suffer from panic disorder, agoraphobia, depression, and OCD. I feel for you having any kind of stress and anxiety as it is horrible. I read, watch Netflix, watch videos with music that usually involve nature and harps or piano. It doesn't cure anything but it helps. ♥

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    1. Oh, gosh. That's so hard, and I feel for you! Sending hugs. I have to avoid Netflix like the plague. If I let myself get swept down the rabbit hole of binge watching, my productivity is doomed. I feel better temporarily, but then I feel guilty for not having accomplished more. : / Catch-22.

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  3. I take a long walk, then drink a cup of tea.

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  4. I think fear is my greatest enemy as a writer. I've always struggled with social media, and like you, pretty much quit it altogether recently. I'm glad you found escape in a happy romance book! The magical realism aspect interests me. Happy writing!

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    1. Oh, I'm right there with you, Molly! I self-sabotage because I'm afraid. I know I do it, but it still happens. And I'm so glad you like the magical realism aspect. I love that part of this book so much. Good luck with your writing!

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  5. Oh man, I hear ya. I've totally stopped scrolling my newsfeed for the most part on FB--just a quick check in for messages. Started watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix (finally, yeah, I'm behind the times). I've finished my latest book and am having fun READING...it's research, right? I'm all for diversions when the world is too anxiety-causing. It hasn't changed my writing habits much, really. My office is my cocoon, my bubble. Fingers in ears, chant with me loudly: LA LA LAAAA...

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    1. Congratulations on turning in the book, Carol! And yay for watching Once Upon a Time--but I hope you're better about containing your binging than I am. I've been reading, but even that has me in a bit of a slump. I'm finding too much YA is too on point for what's going on. Or maybe I'm just reading into it. : ) Sending hugs and singing with you!

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  6. I took a week off social media and it was just what I needed to break the habit of checking too often. Now, I check in once a day and feel much better. Like you, the news has drained my energy. Luckily, I don't have TV, so that helps, but I've gotten better at not being obsessive about reading the news. I'm writing and reading, and I've let go of my guilt about not keeping up with the other stuff. Tough times, but I remind myself that the best thing I can do is be the light in my little corner of the world. That means doing things that make me happy.

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    1. I love that philosophy about being a light in your corner of the world. If we all led by example a bit more, led with joy and generosity, the world would be a better place. Good for you!

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  7. It is so hard sometimes, but I think of it this way: You know how on an airplane, they tell you that you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others? Same kind of thing. You HAVE to take care of yourself before you can take on the other stuff.

    I have to step away sometimes, when the panic and anxiety get extra hard. Because who am I helping if I can't even face my own life? I try to do something offline- read, take a bubble bath, watch an old episode of Friends, anything... less hard to swallow. And then when I can, I go back. I feel like it IS important to be informed, but it is equally important to know our own limits.

    Writing has been a struggle for me. I somehow managed to finish NaNo in November, even after the election- mostly because I think throwing myself into it helped me try to tune it out. But as things got worse in January... I haven't been able to. And I think for now, that has to be okay. I use my blog as an outlet, I let some of my snarkiness and humor come out, because I feel like I *need* to. And when I need a break... I take one now, which I didn't used to. But we also weren't dealing with the same kind of thing before, either.

    Really, all you can do is your best, and make sure you are taking care of yourself. It is definitely NOT easy to navigate, that is for sure. Big hugs ♥♥

    P.S.- It is decidedly NOT warm here, in fact, it has snowed more than 2 feet in the last 24 hours so... hope it is better where you are ;)

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    1. Really smart response, Shannon. I like the simile (hmm, writer much :)), because yes, no matter what we're doing, whether that's being activists, or mothers, or spouses, or writers, or advocates for teens, or anyone else, we have to find the strength to do that somewhere within ourselves. I feel like snark is a good meter of how bad things are--we appreciate it more when the world feels like it's falling apart.

      Two FEET? Yikes. Hope it warms up soon!

      XO

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  8. I have stopped watching the news as much. If there is something in particular going on (weather, event) I will tune in but only watch that part.

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  9. To deal with stress I usually try to take my mind off it by either reading or playing with my pets.

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