Thursday, April 02, 2009

Emotionally Bankrupt

With everything going on in my life lately, my emotions have taken a major hit. Some days I do great and laugh and smile quite a bit. Other days, I retreat within myself and feel like Eeyore with a cloud hanging over my head.
All perfectly normal. I accept this.

Yet what I didn't quite expect was the toll it would take on my novel. There are days where I simply do not want to look at it. Why
? Because my characters are going through their own angst and I've got enough angst in my life for all of us. Since their issues are a bit different than mine, it's not exactly therapeutic to dive into their emotions, either. It requires more work - and more emotional investment - on my part. And there are some days when I don't have it to give.

Granted, I have been extremely blessed that I've been able to do as much work on it as
I have been. It's been my oasis for those times when I needed an escape.

But lately, I don't know that I want to edit a whole lot simply
because I worry I won't be putting as much depth into it as I need to, that I will be skimming over the emotions simply because I don't want to deal with anymore emotions.

Does that make sense? I hope so. I often feel
like I'm blathering without really saying much. I've experienced so many feelings within the span of a few months that I am mentally exhausted. Some days I don't want to feel anything. I just want to be. I guess those are the days when I should leave the manuscript alone. :-)


  1. Melissa, I just found you through Jody Hedlund's blog. Found your post title interesting so I hopped on over.

    Emotionally drained = deserved time off, in my world.

    I've heard through many, many authors that it is always good to let your manuscript sit a bit (weeks, months) after you finish. Start on another, but let yourself lose the closeness to the finished one. Then go back to it with a clear mind, fresher eyes.

    Maybe your emotional exhaustion is God's way of asking you to take a rest, and rejuvenate. We all need one now and then.

    I hope things get better for you soon.o

  2. After the past two weeks - heck, lets say the past 12 months! - I've gone through I completely hear you. Sometimes the book is an escape but other times you know you're just not in the right headspace and you need to take a step back. There's nothing wrong with that. In time, everything evens out. Things are just a bit new and raw and still in the settling down stage. Take your time and take care of yourself. The rest will figure itself out.

  3. It makes complete sense. For me being emotionally drained also means being drained of creativity and imagination.

    Leave the manuscript for a while and read something you love.

    Hang in there :).

  4. Yep! Leave it alone. Read something instead and just take a break. Eventually it'll begin to talk to you again, and once you can handle the book, you'll be amazed at how fast you'll fly through the edits and how awesome it'll be. This is happening to me with one of my books I emotionally couldn't touch for awhile and just now I've been able to reread and begin editing! It's amazing how different I feel when I want to do it and I'm excited to do it, other than when I'm forcing myself. so just relax and smell the roses.

  5. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Sometimes our characters, who are so close to us, are like draining, exhausting friends - and we need to put the phone down and just let them ramble without us really listening.

    I took a 6 week break from my novel last fall, after a bunch of stress just, well, stressed me out. I gave my brain a rest and gave myself no grief for taking time off.

    Do what you need to do - you and the novel will both benefit.

  6. Since I'm farily new to following your blog, I don't have the history of what you're dealing with. But just wanted to echo the other comments and say that sometimes God brings us to the point in our writing career where we need a break. I just did a series of posts on this last week. I had a huge writing hiatus (nine years). And God used that time to deepen me and make me ready again to write when he opened the door.

  7. Resting can be so beneficial. I hope you feel better soon.

  8. It does makes sense, but I still hate that you're going through it.

    I know this sounds trite, but remember everything happens for a reason, and that He doesn't give us more than we can handle. You are so strong, Melissa! And you'll make it through.

    We're here to catch you if you stumble.

  9. Eileen - Glad you stopped by! And thanks so much for your words of wisdom.

    Kelly - It IS weird how sometimes I crave the escape of my novel and other times I can't stand to look at it. It's all so up and down with my emotions right now, though, that I guess I shouldn't be TOO surprised. :-)

    Jenna - I'm looking for a good book right now and haven't found it yet. I think a trip to the library may be in order...

    Jenni - Funny you should mention that. I have a book that has been completely plotted out and I love it - but I can't write it yet. Not emotionally ready for it, I guess. :-)

    Amy - Good advice. You're right - we do need to let our characters ramble for awhile. I feel confident that I'll be back to editing in no time, but every once in awhile, a break is good.

    Jody - I'm going through a divorce right now and there's been some snags along the way that have really tested me. But thank you so much for the encouragement!

    Thanks, Rebecca!

    Janna - Not trite at all. I firmly believe it, too, that everything happens for a reason. God has a plan!

  10. I get you. After the fire I've had a hard time getting back in the swing.
    Either I have no time or no inspiration, especially to be funny which is what my WIP requires.

  11. I think you've been through some pretty extreme experiences lately, so it isn't shocking that you feel unable to dive in right now. Stick with the journal writing for now, I think that could be very helpful. You don't have to think about the emotions but you are still able to let them out.

  12. I know exactly what you are talking about. Take a breath both for yourself and for the benefit of your story. You will both be better off if you can take a break and heal a little before trying to help them do it. *hugs*

  13. Travis - Sometimes the life changes we experience affect us more than we realize. I know it's certainly doing that to me.

    Rene - The journal-writing is definitely therapeutic. I'm so glad I have that outlet.

    Jenn - Healing is such a strange process. Sometimes I need to work on it, other times I just can't. I think I really need to listen to myself on those instances.

  14. I feel that same way quite often. If I am depressed about our situation, it's hard to write upbeat romance for my book. So take a break and when the mood strikes-- get back at it!

  15. Melissa, sometimes, a break is exactly what you need. *hugs*

    Hang in there.

  16. Terri - It's amazing how much our personal lives can affect our creativity, isn't it?

    Jen - Thanks. :-)

  17. Makes complete sense to me. Because of life circumstances, I've hit an absolute wall with my ms. No use even attempting revisions until some things sort themselves out.

  18. It makes perfect sense to me.

  19. I've had 3 years of this, as you know. And every time I've felt as though I've been getting back on my feet, something else has come along (or someone else - usually one of 2 people), and I'm back at square one again. It will pass, but you need to the time to heal yourself and really get used to your own company. At least you have your daughter, an excuse to get through every day, and that will bring you through it quicker than I came through it. My excuse was the cats, although I'd still go back to bed once I'd seen to them.

  20. Angie - With everything that you're going through, I'm not surprised that you've hit a brick wall. But it will be waiting for you when you're ready. :-) Hugs!

    Debs - :-)

    Diane - I know you've gone through quite a bit in the last few years, and I hope that things will start to sort themselves out very soon. Lots of hugs to you!


I love to hear from you!

It's Time

I've had this blog for over 10 years. But I'm finding that I go to it less and less. Maybe it's the death of blogging that broug...