Monday, November 26, 2012

Letting Things Slide

Okay, so here we are, in this crazy-blender world of publishing. There are a lot of ups, and quite a few downs too.

But if there's any lesson I've learned it's this: Sometimes you've got to let things slide.

What you imagined about your cover? Might not come true.

What you've been hoping for in terms of sales? Might not come true.

Deadlines? Might come and go without word. You might not be able to meet yours, because of whatever whatever.

Sometimes what we want to happen doesn't line up with what is actually happening. We can feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and even angry. We forget the good that we've enjoyed about publishing. The feel of typing (or writing) new words on a blank page, of bringing a character to life. 

Sometimes, the stress of publishing is just too much. And that's a definite time to let things slide. I've been on this roller coaster for a few years now, and here's what I do during the sliding times.

  • Read my favorite books. Or a new book.
  • Play Bakery/City/Restaurant/Farm Story. Oh, come on. You know you love seeing your T-bone steaks come out perfectly.
  • Record too many episodes of whatever is on HGTV.
  • Eat pepperoni -- plain. (Don't knock it until you've consumed a pouch of this stuff. It is powerful, and will change your life.)
  • Download some new music.
  • Try a new challenge -- right now, I'm trying to do a 30 ideas in 30 days challenge my friend, Dustin Hansen, inspired.
  • Go to a live concert/performance.
  • Plan meals (gasp!)

It's good to let the publishing angst slide off your back every once in a while. Otherwise, I think we'd all be shaking and muttering under our breath, and nobody wants to see that.

What do you do when you need a break from publishing?



34 comments:

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great advice Elana. Sometimes I take a break and read more and (gasp) watch some TV. It's good to take those breaks once in awhile, especially when it feels so overwhelming.

And I've been seeing your new blog tour around. Yay! That was a great idea.

Matthew MacNish said...

Hah! I'm still trying to break in to publishing, but I even need a break from that every once in a while. Movies, video games, and good books are my escapes.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I'm with Matt. But there can be a lot of urgency in that as well- pressure to come up with 'the book', keep sending out queries, enter agent competitions, get a self-publishing project out there, etc... There's no money involved and no real deadlines except the ones we put on ourselves. But it can be hard to find a balance anyway. I just make sure whenever I'm 'in' something, I'm 'IN' it- whether it be a new wip, revisions for betas or for an agent, or the first six months of querying a new project. In between all of that, I definitely enjoy my downtime. Reading books, watching guilty pleasure teen television, and ording take-out.

Christine Danek said...

I agree with everyone above. I'm not in the publishing world yet, but trying to break in can be crazy too. Taking a break is definitely in order in all aspects of life. Thanks.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

*snort* apparently you're preaching to the wrong choir. But I agree with the others. We all need a break no matter which side of the fence we sit. Though I must admit, I'm glad 'deadline' doesn't sit on my side of the fence. :D

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, you can't let it get to you. I go watch a movie or play my guitar.

JeffO said...

When I'm publishing, I'll let you know!

As far as writing - if I've been heavily drafting or revising, when I'm 'on break' I tend to go over old, short stuff and see if I've got anything with either novel-potential or publishing potential. I also just read a lot more.

SA Larsenッ said...

I'm hearing "Take life in stride", which is great advice. Writing breaks are essential for me, if I want any successes at all. It took me a few years to figure that one out, though. I'd keep plugging away, getting nowhere, because I was too stubborn to admit I was human and needed to think about something else for a bit - clear my head.

Misty Waters said...

I'm in my first wave of submissions to the pubs, experiencing my first waiting game (hopefully not my last) and this SUCKS. I'm jumping between novel projects to keep myself entertained because I can't stay focused. In the down times, I read and catch up on Tivo while trying not to feel guilty for letting a project simmer.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I have definitely been through those low, disappointing moments. Some of the high points are stressful too, such as meeting the expectations of a publisher.

When I need to get away, I usually have to turn to the television. A book won't take me far away enough.

The Winchester boys are very nice to look at. I've been spending a lot of time lately with them ...

Lesson planning also works. Although it's not as fun to look at as Sam and Dean.

Christine Fonseca said...

"Shaking and muttering"...lol! Love that image

Linda Jackson said...

Thanks for keeping it real, Elana. :)

Patti said...

I'm starting to believe that reading is the best way to forget about publishing, especially if it's a really good book.

Also watching my kids play sports take my mind off of everything.

Julie Luek said...

I totally "got that" over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was incredibly healthy to let blogs, writing, email, Twitter, and Facebook take a vacation too. It helped me gain perspective and take a deep breath. I will remember to apply the same principles when...WHEN...I am published. ;)

Em-Musing said...

Haven't had the pleasure if needing a break from publishing, but with building a new home here in Mexico, my brain is strained. I happened to catch Moonstruck on a channel here (in English, thank God) and all my stresses went away for a while. It's one of my favorite movies.

Emily said...

I have completely done the pepperoni thing. I like to swim, read, and quilt to take a break from writing.

Also, long walks are good.

New ideas are also good. I like your 30 ideas in 30 days thing.

Good advice, Elana, as always.

Angela Brown said...

You're right, Elana. If we don't take moments to step back, burn out can ensue and that won't be pretty at all.

I read even more or go for a little longer walk to free my mind. It can be rejuvenating.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Read. Run. Walk the dog. WALK AWAY from the Internet blather....or at least try to. :)

Hope all is well! xo

Heather Sunseri said...

Read, watch movies, exercise, cook. I had a wonderful break over Thanksgiving. It was nice to let the publishing and cyberworld go on without me for a few days.

Peggy Eddleman said...

I love it!

I clean my house. Catch up on everything that's been piling up. Read. Play laser tag with my family. Basically, do everything I wish I could do all the time. :)

Donna K. Weaver said...

I've been spending more time with hubby and reading and watching movies. Now it's time to get back to work.

Jan Rider Newman said...

Life-changing pepperoni! Got it. Thanks, Elana.

Jemi Fraser said...

I definitely read when I need a break or watch some of my favourite movies and tv shows :)

Jenny S. Morris said...

Such great advice!

June G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

Books are always a good balm! I like to get outside, too, and just take a walk or catch up with friends. Sometimes, it's life's way of saying "take a breath."

Amy said...

Great post!! I don't write, so I don't know how it feels, but I know that sometimes when I take on too many book reviews and I get in a reading slump, sometimes I just need a book for me, or to play Epic Mickey. (Yes, it's awesome and I need the second one ASAP) I agree with you on the pepperoni. I will totally devour an entire pouch in one sitting. Also gummy bears. I am obsessed with them.

Jaime Theler said...

I go for a run or read a good book. And I have done the pepperoni thing, but not a whole pouch. ;)

Kelly Polark said...

I have to admit that I write when I can depending on my work schedule and crazy family schedule. (though I don't have true deadlines to worry about yet!)
I don't feel guilty when family takes me away from my writing because my kids will grow up and I will always have my laptop and an endless amount of ideas in my noggin.

Marsha Sigman said...

When I need a break I try to do something physical to get out of my own head or just get out of house. It really helps.

This is a great post and I know I don't always comment but I always take time to read what you have to say. It never fails to inspire me!

Kaylee Baldwin said...

I crochet when I need a break from it all. Reading is one of my favorite things to do--but if I'm feeling not super great about something to do with publishing, the last thing I want to do is read something and then mentally compare my experience to their's. Instead, I just sit like an old lady with my yarn and a chick flick and work on the blanket I've been making for two years.

Rachelle said...

Such a great reminder! Sometimes I have to ask myself--what would I do if I didn't have any responsibilities on the computer? :) I love creating in other forms too and I miss out on sewing, crafting, playing the piano, so I like to do that on my downtime and take extra time to teach my children those skills as well.

Travesti Best said...

Wow... really gonna miss your unique perspective and humor. Please consider posting info on how to download the e-version of your novel.
travesti

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I think I love pepperoni as much as I love bacon. :) Also, I love this post. Letting some things slide is a must-do in this industry.

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