How to Write Full Time & Stay Sane: Make Writer Friends

How to Write Full Time and Stay Sane is a series that offers advice to full-time writers about how to stay productive and in good spirits.

I have been feeling very *this* lately:

And I *know* I’ve put that video clip in a post or two before, but it’s so appropriate for the life of a writer (when frustrated) that I can’t promise I won’t link to it again.  (It’s pretty much genius—so get over it.)

Basically, it all stemmed from a very complicated situation I was facing that was driving me insane.  Writing wise.  That’s all I’m going to say about it—sorry to be so vague, but I’ve been thinking and talking about it so much over the last few weeks, I want to put it all behind me.

This poster still hangs in my bedroom at my parents' house. Hahaha.

But, I had been trying to figure out how to move forward for a while, and just when I thought I had a decent plan in place, I realized it wasn’t going to work. *oh noes!*

And then I got sick at the start of last week was unable to do . . . well, anything that required more effort than watching back episodes of Tosh.0 or Melissa and Joey or Desperate Housewives or . . . you get the picture.

With all the plans I’ve made and ideas I have, being unable to work or figure out how to proceed made me feel not only guilty/stressed/freaked . . . but also down. 

Like Alice in Chains “Down in a Hole” down. And if you don’t know how depressing that is, here:

So I talked to my husband—and he just happens to be awesome and actually know what I’m talking about when I talk about writing and the industry and blah blah blah.  Talking about it (ad nauseum) with him did help, but I still didn’t have the answer I needed.

I just wished someone would say, “This is the answer,” but I knew my problem didn’t really *have* a definitive answer and that was why I was going so nuts.

So I talked to my writing BFF earlier today. She listened, sympathized, empathized, and—guess what?  She gave me *the answer*! (I know I just said my problem didn’t *have* a definitive answer, but her solution was just the kind of thing I needed.)

Aww--kitty friends. 🙂

This, my friends, is why I can’t stress enough the importance of having writer friends. Even though you might have fantawesome family members who will listen and offer advice, they aren’t always going to be able to figure out what to do.

It’s not that they don’t want to. It’s just: They aren’t as nuts as you are.

So, there you have it.  Make writer friends. Seriously.  Like right now.

Comment here and leave a link to your blog or Web site so *we* can be writer friends—and do it at other blogs you read.  Start conversations with other writers on Twitter and LinkedIn.  Go to conferences and workshops.  Take writing classes.  Check out writers’ groups that meet regularly.  Join online communities like mine, The Write-Brained Network, that are dedicated to the intermingling of writerly peeps.

Yes, it takes work to cultivate and maintain these relationships; no, not every person you meet is going to mesh with you as well as your be-fri—but get out there.  Somehow.  It’s from these friendships that come so many wonderful things—like stretches of sanity, even for writers.

And if nothing else, you'll have found another drinking buddy. 😉

Knowing Your Process is Half the Battle

I’ve been answering some neglected e-mails today, and in one, I described my current mood by using the following video.  It’s from Forgetting Sarah Marshall; YES, I used it in my last 15 Beats post; and, YES, he swears twice (get over it):

But I think we all feel like this at one point or another—especially writers (<— probably more often than normal people)—where everything you’re doing feels like it’s pointless or for naught or just plain horrible and what were you thinking,  subjecting yourself to this??

So, what do you do when you’re feeling like that?  How do you get out of it?

Part of what helps me is that I’ve come to a point where I know it’s part of my process. And I know it’s something everyone feels at one time or another.

Maybe you’re going, “I never feel that way.  I always know I’m awesome.”  (If you are saying that, I have two words for you—and I’m not going to post them here.)

True, knowing there are going to be hours/days/weeks I’m going to feel like a hack doesn’t make me feel better instantly when I’m in that state, but I think it’s important to get to the point where you can acknowledge that it’s just a phase.  Then, you can being to look yourself objectively and get over it faster.

For instance, I notice I tend to feel this way when I’m close to something: an epiphany—a creative burst—a panic attack?  (<—Naw, I’ve only had one of those.)

My point?  I dunno—go back to the aforementioned video!

But I’d be willing to bet this happens to others when they at the precipice of awesomeness (<—hopefully) as well.  The late, great Blake Snyder might call this the “Dark Night of the Soul” beat, were your writing life a screenplay.

The question is, what makes you “Break into Three”(Act III)?

Since the rest of this post was probably very rambling and depressing, I’ll leave you with a ray of sucky sunshine from YA author Maureen Johnson: