Saturday, October 12, 2013

When A Mind Turns to Mush

I have mentioned before that I am slowing down my writing schedule.  It looks like I’m slowing down more than even I anticipated.

I took some time off from writing last month, having hit a stage of burnout I’d never experienced before.  Not ‘writer’s block’, mind you ... the story ideas continued to come fast and furious, as they always have.  I’d simply hit a wall as far as the ability to keep going.  Such is the price of crazy New Year’s challenges and my typical eagerness to rip out the stories that clamor inside my brain. 

Unfortunately for my peace of mind, when I get a new idea my muse screams, “Write it NOW!!!”  In recent weeks, the rest of me started yelling back, “Put it on hold or I will shut the whole thing down.”  I had become mentally exhausted.

I took a week off, the longest I’ve gone without writing in over three years.  Even during my summer vacations I have written almost every day, and at a hectic pace that most don’t attempt.  I think I must be beyond obsessed with writing.  Obsessed or not, the schedule I'd set for myself became too much and my brain turned to mush.

Let me tell you, that week off was amazing.  I felt twinges here and there of guilt that I wasn’t writing, but overall, my entire being breathed a sigh of relief.  The chaos that had taken up residence inside my skull quieted.  I looked forward to the day each morning when my eyes opened.  A couple of times, after putting my son on the school bus, I went back to bed.  I read books.  I meditated for an hour at a time.  Ah, decadent laziness.  It was lovely.

I came back rejuvenated and ready to write again.  No longer do I feel crazed with the need to write so many words a day, to push and push and push forward until my nerves scream.  I realize I had put myself in a writing hell of my own making.  I’d almost turned the thing I love doing into a nightmare.

I’ve sworn to myself to not reach that breaking point again.  That means I have shuffled around my schedule to give myself more breaks and more room to breathe between books.  I realize that I do not have to drive myself crazy by pounding out book after book at a rate of every 6 to 8 weeks ... in fact, it’s best that I don’t.  For the sake of myself, my family, and my books, I am slowing way the hell down.

My friends, I am afraid you will have to wait longer between books from now on.  I will still be writing five days a week, but I will take a day for myself and one for my family as well.  I will reduced the amount of writing I have been demanding of myself in a set amount of time.  No more 12 hour workdays for this gal.  After each book’s release, I will relax with a week off to recharge.  It could be I only release 4 books a year from now on.  It could be even less.  I am sorry if you are disappointed with that, but I cannot continue to write myself ragged.  
This is your heads-up on the matter.  Any urgings to ‘hurry’ when it comes to the next book will be viewed with amusement from now on.  If I catch myself rushing like before, I will be kicking my own ass.  I will invite you to kick it with me.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.  Alien Caged is coming soon, so make sure you don’t rush through it, okay?  Clan, Honor, and Empire, the next new book in line, will likely not be seen before March. 


  1. Good for you! Taking time for yourself and also for your family is an important part of being a well rounded person!

  2. thats seems like a good plan :) better for you, your family and your love of writing

  3. Good for you. And hurry up any way. Haaaaa

  4. I'm happy for you! It is important to take time between books to recharge oneself again and to dedicate time to our love ones. If you have a recorder, start taking it with you everywhere you go, that way you can record your new ideas and do not have to be rushing back home to write them. Keep you recorder on your night stand so if you have a new idea you don't have to go down stairs to write it. There is also a program that you can intall in your pc that allows you to talk to the pc while it is writing it down for you (don't remember the name at this moment... Alzheimer? LOL). I'm lazy that way... Hahahaha

  5. Yes you do need to take care of yourself and family first, life is to short to drive yourself crazy, you need to enjoy life.

  6. Tracy
    Your health and family come first. You still get more books out with around 3 a year than published Authors of which some you have to wait a year or 18 months for the next book. So take that time to breath and relax. We all need it and it will probably make your writing even better :)

  7. No more running yourself ragged! Everyone needs time to relax and rejuvenate. We'll survive and you'll be a much happier writer!

  8. This is the very first time I found myself writing to a writer, having her as a friend on FB, knowing that she will answer to my questions or comments or ideas whenever she finds the time to do it, and she has done it, always!!! You have done it, Tracy, all the times; with me and with all the others Tracy-followers outside.
    Plus, there is the blog, the books, the lovely cuppa joes, the constant updates on your books...of course you are tired, and you deserve to rest and recharge and enjoy your family and friends and life! So, don't worry about us, we'll survive, Alien Caged is coming soon...and then I will rerun all your other, so beloved books!
    THANKS, always, and have a great life!!!! xxx

  9. Good for you Tracy. Everyone needs a break, even from things they love to do. We will survive. Be happy, relaxed and enjoy life and your family.

  10. I worried about you when you started the "New book every month" thing and wondered how anyone could write that much and juggle that many things and still breathe. Good for you for realizing you needed to take care of yourself. Writing should be a joy, not a misery. As one of your most rabid fans, I'll stop nagging you to hurrry. I have my own books to write while I wait and I know all too well how hard it can be to keep all the balls in the air.

  11. Thanks for all the kind comments! I really feel like things are much better now. Writing is no longer the daunting task it had become. I'm very lucky to have such understanding and supportive readers.