Good Morning, my friends.
Photo Attribution: Christian Southworth
Isn’t it funny how the end of a year brings with it the need to step back and gain some perspective over one’s life? Yeah, I fell for it, too. It was unintentional, I assure you. Most of the time, I keep myself too busy to notice the passage of time, and not only days, but whole seasons change without me noticing their passing.
I could barely keep my head above the metaphorical water – the waterfall of life flew by too fast for me this year. I just burned out. Not once, but several times I found that I simply could not find the will to carry on. So then I dug deeper and tried to figure out where I went wrong. Did I go wrong? Am I simply not cut out for this writing gig?
Turns out I find solace in writing – the first good sign. Even on a short trip to town, if I’m not the designated driver, I play word games, or stare out of the window at the rainbows and clouds (I live in Ireland now, guys. Rainbows are a daily certainty, especially here, right on the coast). I still like editing, and I have found great friends among the authors on my list.
So what caused the burnout, then? Well, it seems I’ve simply been doing too much. I have seven (soon nine) titles to my name, and have been editing an average of 1.6 books per month in the last few years. I learned how to write a book in a week. From zero presence, I have built myself an extensive online platform, and I know more tricks for leveraging the power of the web than is safe for any person to know (and if I don’t know something well enough, I know where to find out about it).
I love this blog, and yet there were large stretches of time when I could not give it any attention. Heck, I didn’t find the five minutes necessary to add my latest book on the bar to the right. Writing and editing came first. Any spare moment I had, I spent reading articles and attending webinars in a quest to better myself. It shows, I think, in the quality of my work overall. I write better and faster, I see the problems in a manuscript easier. Solutions come to me in seconds.
Who’s missing in this scenario? Oh, right. The people closest to me: my family. Twenty years ago I chose to spend my life with a man – a man I neglect most of the time. He bears it well, and still makes me cups of coffee or even dinners when I forget to eat. I have a daughter who is now standing on her own two feet (and whose number one priority is ‘the boyfriend’) and another who is almost seventeen. She’s saving up to buy her first car (a 4×4 – rural Ireland, remember? She’ll need it here).
So where does that leave me? Well, I know for sure I love my family, and I love writing. So from now on, if I feel like writing a blog post, I will. If I feel like sitting down with a cup of coffee and ignoring the social media, I will. I will write when the urge takes me and I will give myself no more deadlines. I will drop my editing to a reasonable level, and I will find a way to help every author I cannot fit in in some way that is acceptable to every party involved. I will promote when and if I can, and I will delegate the jobs I cannot get to. I will continue to learn, but I will not hesitate to delete any articles that have lingered in my inbox for more than a month.
That’s it, then, my pledge to you, my family and myself. A happier Ella, more rested, more able to take in the beauty of the world around me. Hopefully, the blur will clear from my mind, and great ways forward will become clear once again. I love you all, and value your friendship more than you know. Shameless promo coming up.