I live in snow country. It’s not uncommon for our first snow to fall in October and for the last piles to melt in April. Some years our snow banks are five feet tall. Other years, we cycle through snow storms and meltdowns, snow storms and meltdowns. Regardless of how much snow we get, one thing is pretty consistent: gray skies. You can read about one of my coping mechanisms here. (I’ll give you a hint—it’s tall, needly, and twinkly.)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (appropriately acronymized as SAD) is a real thing, but I didn’t notice its effect on me until I started working from home. When I had to get up every day to go to an office where other people relied on me, it was easier (especially because those people could see how many hours I spent playing Candy Crush Saga). However, now that I’m working from home full time, SAD sucks the life out of me faster than a toddler on caffeine.
I’m embarrassed to admit to how many hours a week I waste watching House reruns and playing games on Facebook. And now, thanks to my sister, I have the new mini classic Nintendo (hello, Dr. Mario). Before I know it, it’s dinnertime again and I’ve barely managed to finish my work for the day. Then my husband comes home from work, and I’m ready to walk away from my computer.
Except I haven’t worked on my novel.
Overall, 2018 was a good year. A lot of great things happened personally and professionally, but it also shined a big ol’ light on the black hole of wasted time that I readily succumb to during the winter months. It’s easy to blame it on the weather—so I do—but here’s the sad truth: I did not complete writing a novel last year.
In the past, novel writing was always for fun—no one read my unpublished books, the manuscripts didn’t provide any income, and (most importantly) I didn’t have to write them. No one cared whether or not I wrote another novel.
But then I signed a publishing contract, and last year my first novel was published! And now, I’m thrilled to announce that my next novel, Practically Married, will be published October 2019 with Guiding Light Women’s Fiction!
Suddenly, my agent cares if I’m writing. My publishers care. And you know what? I care! My plan was never to write one novel, then stop. I’d love to do this for the rest of my life! Of course, that means I need to be writing, which means I can’t keep giving in to SAD.
I’ve already formulated a plan to help me make better use of my time by doing things that I know stimulate my creativity and fuel my motivation:
- Use my sun lamp consistently (3-4 days/week)
- Walk the dogs every day
- Fruits and/or vegetables with every meal
- Spend time reading the Bible every day
- Work outside of the house at least once a week
- Blow dry my hair every time I wash it
Some of those may not sound very inspiring, but these are things that help me get in the right mindset for working (e.g. if my hair air dries, it looks ridiculous, which I use as an excuse to stay inside, so blow drying my hair helps me stay ready for any opportunity to work outside the house). Now I can be held accountable. I’m ready to fight the fatigue and write, regardless of the gloom.
Have you ever struggled to find the motivation or energy to do something you really wanted to do? How did you get through it?
Karin Beery – Writer. Editor. Novelist. Karin writes contemporary fiction with a healthy dose of romance. Represented by literary agent Steve Hutson at WordWise Media, her debut novel, Summer Plans and Other Disasters, released September 15, 2018.
When she’s not writing fiction, she’s editing through her business, Write Now Editing. And when she’s not doing either of those, she teaches Substantive Editing for Fiction and Romance Editing through the PEN Institute. Karin is also the Managing Editor for Guiding Light Women’s Fiction at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, where they publish stories that entertain, encourage, inspire, and enlighten.