After I made the decision to cut off my writer’s soul (to stop writing fiction and focus exclusively on building my copy and marketing company), I basically found myself lost in the wilderness.
Although, I didn’t realize it at the time.
What I DID know was that I kept finding myself in the middle of toxic, unhealthy cycles, and I didn’t know why.
• I was depressed every January.
Shortly after my birthday (which is in the beginning of the month), I would slide into a depression that would typically last until the end of February.
At first, I told myself it was because it was winter, and I had SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). BUT … I live in Arizona, where the sun is shining over 300 days a year. If I was still living in Wisconsin where I grew up, then maybe that would be the case, but here … probably not.
I tried pushing down and ignoring the depression. It made it worse. I tried forcing myself to cheer up. That didn’t work either.
Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it was because the only month in the year I felt like I could take a “true” vacation was in December (because if I left any other part of the year, I would come back to a billion emails and would be stressed for days getting caught up). So every year around this time, I would get depressed knowing I had to wait nearly an entire year before taking another break.
• Even when I took time off, I never felt completely refreshed or recharged.
I always felt like I was walking around with my battery half charged, and it didn’t matter what I did … I could never get it back up to 100%.
• I burned out. A lot.
This was probably the worst of the toxic cycles. I’ve lost track of the number of times I burned out during those difficult years, but the cycle was always the same:
I would get more and more run down and stressed and exhausted until finally, I’d find myself UNABLE to work. Sure, my lap top was on my lap, but I was “pretending” to work while I watched “Pride and Prejudice” (the six-hour A&E version) over and over again.
Then, after a few days of doing next to nothing, I would slowly pull myself out of it.
Now, I can see what I was doing, which was depleting my creativity by writing only nonfiction without filling it back up by writing fiction. If I had a creative project to work on, that actually (and paradoxically) would have “filled the creative well,” so to speak.
But if you had told me this back then, I would have felt even more overwhelmed and stressed trying to fit something creative in my day. I would have told you there was no possible way I could take on a creative project; I simply didn’t have the bandwidth.
So, instead, I created a situation where I really didn’t have the time. My copy work took waaayy longer than it needed to, because my “creative well” was constantly low.
Now that I’m on the other side of all that and am actively doing both—continuously building my copy company along with my fiction brand—I actually have the space and energy for both. (In fact, I’ve even been able to find the space to write a nonfiction book series as well.)
But, in order to get this point, I had to first go through a couple of major life transformations. I’ll share more about those in my next post.