The Journey to Publication, Writing

8 Ways to Shake Off the Winter Slump

Remember last week (and possibly the week before) when I mentioned how I was kind of in a slump? Kind of down and into running away?

I think I’ve finally started to shake it. And I thought I’d share how, just in case you’re still stuck in a state of Winter-Blahs since spring seems oh so far away (first day of spring was Thursday here … and it snowed. Again. I hate snow is becoming a motto to live by.)

Anyhoo, some of these things are really not rocket science, and I’ve heard them before … but I have a very hard head, evidently, and sometimes it takes more than once (or possibly a small anvil) to get me to actually help myself. So without further ado, how to shake off the blahs and feel better:

  1. Connect to people. Talk to them. Meet new people. For me, this was and is hard. I like talking to people, 2014-03-22 22.39.37but I find actually putting myself out there to meet people a bit terrifying. I’m afraid of being burned, hurt, shut-out. But the reward of a funny conversation with someone new, a shared smile, is SO worth it. Promise.
  2. Let in the sun. Whether that means going out for a walk or even a drive, let the sun shine on your face, and let in good feelings. Sometimes we’ve been shutting them out without even knowing it.
  3. Give yourself something to look forward to. I have an upcoming vacation which does help, but I also found that I’ve been feeling down how to get through the weeks after, since spring seems soooo faaaaaarrrrr (note the more stupid snow on Thursday?). And then I got my new seed and bulb catalogue from a Garden and Nursery company, and just looking through those pictures started getting me excited about my garden, and what I’d plant, and what this year would turn out like. When you’re a gardener, seeds are naturally imbued with hope (they really are the future), but other things work, too. What about events that are coming in a month or so? Look for something to put on your calendar and start counting down the days.
  4. Put on some upbeat, happy music. Music seriously affects my mood, which is why I have specific disks I’ve made with “happy music,” some of it just music that I really love, some stuff amusing, like “He’s got high hopes.” Sometimes it’s just a great song on an upbeat radio station. (And if you’re looking to create a compilation for yourself, try showtunes, seriously. They’re so cheerful it’s almost nauseating … but fun.)
  5. Read or watch something funny. Read a funny book, watch a funny movie. Let yourself just enjoy, without over-analyzing or trying to be down (though that might just be me.) 😉
  6. Try to see the world with a child’s eyes. Ever notice that kids love snow? They love playing in the rain and out in the puddles. They love playing, altogether. And sometimes, it really pays to just get down with them and let yourself try and feel some of the sheer joy they feel. Because that’s allowed – and strongly encouraged! And it’ll probably at least give you a smile.
  7. Give yourself a little treat, especially a silly one. The little … “thingy” in the image? He was my treat one day, quite some time ago. He was free, I have no idea what he’s supposed so be, but he made me smile. On weekends, I love to go to dollar stores, just ’cause if I find something I like (craft supplies, home stuff, kids stuff, etc), I can buy something and not have to worry about the cost much. Those are my little treats. Do you have some for yourself?
  8. Go play! Take your play seriously, letting go and just having fun and shutting out all the voices that want to stop that fun (like inner editors when you’re trying to write, ambitions, to-do lists, etc.) Make something with no particular purpose. Write something just because you want to. Go jump in puddles. Just remember, play. Life’s too short, and way too dull otherwise. 🙂

Okay, so that’s my two cents and my likely reused advice. But know what? It works.

What works for you? Why not share?

Have a great week, thanks for reading, and here’s to sunshine, happiness, and some play. 🙂

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Spring, where are you? Or, Trying to Shake the Winter Rut

These cupcakes won't fill you up; my pin-cushion cupcakes I made as gifts. :)
These cupcakes won’t fill you up; my pin-cushion cupcakes I made as gifts. 🙂

Hey out there! Hope you’ve all started to see signs of spring wherever you may be. Here, it was nice and slushy, sun shining … and now today there are suspicious white somethings fluttering through the air, and a nasty wind (if I don’t name them, they don’t really exist). Which doesn’t do much to improve my mood, and frankly, I’ve been a bit down in the dumps.

I’m trying to remember that this is just one of the stages of writing … and probably symptomatic of other things, like a long dark winter, not having enough fun, and otherwise feeling a lot more of the uphill battle than usual. And there are lots of good things to look forward to, like the fact that heck, it’s only March, which leaves most of a year yet undiscovered, plus I get a rockin’ holiday with family at the end of the month.

And I’ve also been trying to remember moderation and gentleness in amongst the chastising myself for not writing enough, for not writing fast enough, etc, etc. Because sometimes, we all need a break – and we need to recognize when there’s a need for a bit of a break. Will I be writing today? Yes. I will try, and maybe today will be a great day and I’ll get in all the words I want. But if it’s not, I’m also trying to allow myself to write as much as I feel I can, and then I’m going to go off and play a bit, to allow myself other creative outlets to refresh and re-energize my outlook.

Which is why I’ve been spending a lot of time up in my craft room, playing with polymer clay and making miniatures, another passion of mine. And if you want to take a peek at what I’ve been up to, you can check out my other blog: Craft Room Chronicles: What happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room.

What about you? Have you ever felt the need for a bit of a break? Conversely, how to you get yourself out of slumps?

Hope you’re having a springy kind of week, thanks for reading, and take care! 🙂

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Winter Writing Whining

Yay winter roads. Bleh! Source:
Yay winter roads. Bleh!

Today it’s snowing. Again. A lot. Already this month we’ve had two terrible weeks of snow, including two days where my husband has even worked from home because the highways are so bad. Today is the second of those days.

I find myself staring out the window and finding it hard to actually, you know, write and work like I’m supposed to. And it’s not just the weather. I’ve been a good girl and I’ve actually finished almost all of my presents pre-December 1st (yes, I actually made almost all of them as well). I needed it done extra-early this year because of a wedding at the end of the month as well as an early date for my own annual Christmas party. No, I am not Martha; there are still pumpkins now frozen and stuck to my front steps, and the boxes of decorations are out, but haven’t spontaneously jumped onto the tree or mantle (though they better get a move on – the party is this Saturday!).

Instead, after taking all of last week “off” to do holiday-related stuff (read: shopping and getting out of the house after a week stuck in the house), I am studiously trying to write. I’ve started a new WIP (or re-started, depending on how you look at it). And mostly, I even like it, and have spurts of high inspiration for it. But mostly, I just want to curl up and do nothing, or possibly run away to my craft room and play. My excuses are plain: I have worked on rewrites almost the entire year. I have worked on making Christmas presents most of the latter part of the year (including the massive dollshouse for the kidlet, which is done too, btw – pictures hopefully next week). And right now, all I want to do is play. I do not want to be “good” and sit at my computer as I should and push out more words. I do not want to get the last few things done that I’ve promised for the wedding (and kind of need, like a dress for the kidlet). I want to be irresponsible. I want to do what I want.

Which then makes me think: but when I’m writing, aren’t I always doing just what I want to? What would be the purpose of writing a book that I don’t want to write? Rewrites are different, seeing as there comes a point when I think we all start to hate rewrites, and they’re simply a necessary evil. But just writing that first draft? There should be joy and fun there. And I am enjoying myself, especially playing with more modern language than I usually use, and two zany-type characters. And writing in a different POV is fun too, a bit easier than it sometimes is, though I miss the other perspective (no, I simply can’t be happy, can I?) 😉

And yet I still find myself longing for something else. For escape. Or maybe just to curl up and indulge myself.

What about you? Does December leave you feeling similarly? If not, how do you stay motivated to do non-holiday related things?

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. Have a good one, happy writing, and a happy week to you out there!