3 Ways to Preserve Your Author Sanity by Patty Blount
I hope y'all are enjoying your summer!
I've been doing this author thing for over a decade now and in those years, I've learned 3 great ways to preserve my sanity, relatively speaking, of course. Allow me to share them with you. 1) Write at a different time. 2) Read outside your genre. 3) Respect your process.
Writing at Different Times
Before I got published, I used to write whenever I had spare time. I wrote during my son's hockey practice, in between drop-offs and pick-ups at whatever other events he had scheduled, or on the weekends, when my husband was fishing, etc.
After I got published, I had deadlines, so writing couldn't simply exist as a spare-time gig anymore. I had to carve time out for it and with a fulltime job, two kids, and a household to manage, that was no small feat. I elected to give up TV time and spent the hours from after dinner until bedtime with my characters. This worked for our family for many years until 2015, when I got a new job with an hour commute time, each way.
I realized I was too tired after work to write coherent sentences and it really took a toll on my productivity. Frustration mounted and I had to find an alternative fast or I would start missing deadlines. I began getting up at 5:45, driving to work before the mad rush began. Once safely at my office, I could write uninterrupted and comfortably until 9 AM when my day officially began.
I discovered this new routine to be extraordinarily helpful. I never considered myself much of a morning person but the quality of my writing proved that false. My work required far less fixing than it used to. Even better, the one hour drive to work allowed me plenty of time to think and ruminate about potential GMCs for each scene.
Read Outside Your Genre
Another thing I do that helps me escape the ruts I've fallen into is read outside my genre. I spent weeks reading historical romance this year, beginning with the entire Bridgerton series. I've found reading OUTSIDE my genre (contemporary) helps me re-imagine scenarios in it. For example, Bridgerton's Lady Whistledown is similar to Gossip Girl. I also read a lot of Rebecca Zanetti and Colleen Hoover this year so again, I look for ways to mine those stories for ideas that could make compelling YA contemporary stories. Without divulging spoilers, the need to re-imagine Verity as a YA horror has kept me busy.