February has been a tough month for me. I’ve had zero motivation to do anything productive and have fallen behind in all my goals for the year. Look back on last year February was rough month then too. I’m not sure if the weather, or finally coming down from the holiday season and New Year’s boost of motivation, or just all the little things that we always seem to have to do this month, but it’s clear to me now this is not my month to get things done.
I did start the month off strong. I finished my edits of Thicker Than Blood and got them to my editor and I posted an awesome interview I did with author C. D. Tavenor and then the burn out hit me out of nowhere. It took me a few days to even realize it was happening. At first, I just thought I was coming down with a cold or something, but when I never actually got sick I realized what was happening. I was pushing myself too hard. I needed a break.
Naively, I thought that simply lowering my daily word goal would be enough and allow me to get done all the little administrative things on my ever doing to do list. I even updated and reorganized my lists as this usually gets me motivated to get to work. It did not because slowing down is not the same thing as taking a break.
What followed was two weeks where I did basically nothing. I would come home from, make dinner and then crash on the couch for the rest of the night. See, my burn out wasn’t just affecting my writing, it was affecting everything. I had stopping writing, stopped even thinking about my stories, but I had also stopped meal planning, couldn’t remember appointments for my family, lost track of what needed to get done every day just to keep our family functioning. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who picks up the slack when this happens.
I’m starting to rise out of this burnt out hole. Last year I started tracking time for each project I was working on, just to see how much time I was actually dedicating to my writing. I kept it going into the new year, but was starting to find that I was using it as an excuse not to write. If I only had ten minutes to write and I had to spend two of those minutes opening the timekeeping app and setting it up then what was the point at all. So I stopped using it. I also stopped tracking my daily goals for the rest of the month. Doing both of these things has helped bring back my motivation. I think it’s important to remember that just because something worked before doesn’t mean it will always work for you and it’s important to reevaluate your process from time to time to make sure nothing has become an unnecessary burden.
I’m planning on March being a more productive month as I slowly start writing again. First up will be finishing a Crystal and Grady origin short story that will be exclusive to people who sign up for my newsletter.