Writer, Heal Thyself! by Jillian David (Romance Author University)
As a newcomer to writing and publishing, I’ve experienced the highs and lows that authors often experience. No amount of pep talks, trolling newbie author boards, or self-affirmations helps those periods of doubt. You know the times: queries sent into the great black void, the release of the first book to…cheers? crickets?, the awesome reviews, and the reviews where no feelings are spared. For every fist-pump milestone, there were corresponding fears and doubts. Too many highs and lows. Too much doubt. So how could I fix this problem?
A side note: As a physician, I am heavily invested in fixing things. Solving problems is what I do in my day job, and I’m pretty good at it. I also give lots of advice to go along with the fixing of patients’ problems.
However, this writer/doctor is great at dishing out advice…but not so great at taking it. Enough already. Enough with doubt, second-guessing, and fear of rejection. Enough! I’m no expert on writing and publishing, but I’m can sure give out medical advice. Perhaps this doctor could help herself? Time to take some of my own medicine – writing style!
Confession time. I deliver babies, so I often tell women to breathe. (Sometimes also husbands.) At 9 centimeters dilated, women might ignore this advice and hurl objects, hurl obscenities, or simply hurl. But for the mothers-to-be who take this simple advice to heart and try to take slow, deep breaths, their anxiety and pain improves, the pelvis relaxes, and that baby descends through the pelvis faster. (By the way, if you tell a fully dilated woman she has “discomfort”, it is likely that she will clearly demonstrate the difference between “discomfort” and “pain”.)
Writers get good and bad reviews. The first time I read through all of the reviews, panic and feelings of worthlessness swamped me. Why? Because I fixated on only the negative reviews (discomfort) rather than the big picture of a published book that quite a few people enjoy (cute baby). Once I shut up, listened to myself and took some deep breaths, the panic faded away and I could do something more productive, like edit the next book!
#2) Exercise every day.
What the heck? Dr. Jill’s lost her mind now. What does exercise have to do with writing?
How about everything?
Writers, how many times have you sat in that ergonomically inappropriate chair for hours on end, writing/editing/outlining? You know the seat. It’s the couch or the floor or the super comfy La-Z-Boy recliner. Anything but the chair in front of your computer desk. Bet when you get up from the writing location, you made old-lady noises. Maybe joints popped and crackled like a bowl of Rice Krispies. So, to save your hips, knees, shoulders and back, walk 5 minutes for every hour in the writing chair.
But how does walking relate to writing advice? Walking, even for a short period of time, has been documented to produce stress-busting endorphins, improve attention and creativity, and elevate mood and self-esteem. Health-wise, walking also helps to reduce pain (30 minutes of walking is demonstrated to be superior to certain pain meds when it comes to back pain), improve heart health, and reduce deep venous thrombosis (DVT) risk. So, when the writing gets me stressed, my first-line treatment is to go for a walk.
#3) Take this pill once daily. Do not skip a dose.
Same premise goes for writing. Write daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes. I used to worry about whether I could produce decent prose or come up with good ideas and get them on paper in a coherent manner. Writing daily, even if it’s not the most fabulous work, is fine. Because when you prospect for gold, not every pan has a nugget. And that’s okay.
#4) Give it time.
Things will improve.
Jillian David lives near the end of the Earth with her nut of a husband and two bossy cats. To escape the sometimes-stressful world of the rural physician, she writes while on call and in her free time. She enjoys taking realistic settings and adding a twist of “what if.” Running or hiking on local trails often promotes plot development.
She would love for readers to connect on Twitter @jilliandavid13 or on her blog at http://jilliandavid.net. Readers are always welcome to e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Civil War nurse Ruth Blackstone sacrificed her soul to save her husband's life, he utterly betrayed her trust. Now, 150 years later, she's still stuck killing depraved souls to feed her devil of a boss, Jerahmeel. She's never been one for hair-brained schemes or sweet-talking flirts. That is, until she meets Cajun rogue Odie Pierre-Noir.
Odie has the research and the war plan to overthrow Jerahmeel and win freedom for all Indebteds. There's just one hitch: he needs Ruth to act as bait. With charm on his side, he shows Ruth an intense passion she's never experienced before.
Now Ruth must make the hardest decision of her long, damned life: continue in relative safety as an Indebted with Odie as her lover, or risk their eternal souls for one chance to break the curse. Will she choose the lesser evil?