Creativity and vacations/holidays, moving from writing as a hobby to a career, taking your mental health seriously, maintaining writing productivity, meeting deadlines, and methods for aggressively filling the well.
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Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee.
Um, today is Monday July third um here in the us it's kind of part of a long holiday weekend because tomorrow is it's always funny because we say it? Oh I guess these hey god hey.
Thank you excuse me. Um, you know I grew up. We called it. The fourth of July which it's the fourth of July like today is the third of July it's american independence day. Um, mostly known for barbecues being outdoors. It's midsummer here. Um, generally screwing around and having fun. So with it being on a Tuesday a whole lot of people are taking today off. So if you are cheers to you why the hell are you watching this podcast. Well maybe you're watching it later.
It's interesting to me to see the numbers to see how many of you ah listen to the podcast later which is great I'm glad it works that way for you? Um, so um, you will note that I am working because doing this podcast is working. Today is a regular day for me I'm planning to write tomorrow as well. So one of the things I wanna talk about today is the whole concept of holidays and vacations the plus and the the minus on that the pros and the cons. Um. You know and what it means when you have something like a writing career slash hobby right? So this is like 1 of those dicey things that can be kind of difficult to navigate before that I'll give you a little bit of an update. Um. Super pleased with myself June was I wrote over 51000 words in June and I'm I'm over 60000 words on Oneira um, so. This june was my best month since March of 2021 so more than 2 years and I'm just so happy to be back in the groove. So now my challenge will be as those of you who know who listen to the podcast regularly will be.
Now I've got travel coming up in the next two months and I'm going to do my best to continue this productivity because one of the things is once I get in the groove of writing 3000 words a day. It's much easier to maintain it if I keep doing it. If I take time off of it then it takes me a long time to ramp back up now last week I did not quite get my 3000 words a day I ended up getting um the it came out to. 2901 words a day because I um friday was I kind of hit tired on Friday I'd emptied out. Um I was writing a little bit slower. So for last week I got 14507 words but because it was an improvement because I continued to trend upwards I allowed it and um, recognized that the well needed some refilling and I kind of just relaxed on Friday afternoon.
I think I mentioned that I've been reading Naomi Novik's Scholomance trilogy and I'm almost done with the third book and then I will give a review perhaps on Friday um, Jennifer Udden did a really neat write up on her. Um. It's kind of like a newsletter blog thing I don't know what she calls it a link to it in the show notes. So I haven't I started to read it and then I stopped because she's got spoilers and I'm going to finish it once. Ah I've read book 3 but she's very smart and insightful. So I'm looking forward to what she's got to say.
Um, yeah, so we'll just see next week I mentioned I'm going to go to Tucson to help my mom with a medical procedure minor medical procedure and spend a little bit of time playing with her. And then the week after that we're going on a road trip. So it should be short hops and I'm hoping to have some good intense time to to write the challenge for me will be to like I will be out of my ritual. Which makes it more difficult but I can write in the tried to write in interstices I'm just getting words whenever I can one of the gals in my Patreon and discord. Mentioned that she had family visiting and had to do stuff with family and she was feeling so aggravated that she didn't get her writing time and but she took a few minutes to duck into they were out doing something I don't know what to duck into a public restroom. And write down some ideas on her phone and and that made her feel better and you know I think sometimes just doing that incremental push getting something done makes a huge difference so holidays and vacations. Um.
On the plus side on the pro side. It's important for us to remember to take time off um and and it is a downside of being a writer that there's a tendency to. Want to write all the time in part because it's easier, especially if you're writing a novel to keep your hand in to you know, write on it all the time. Um, however, there's also this aspect of taking time off right? giving ourselves. The time we need to refill the well and we've been talking about this in in Jeffe's Closet in my discord because 1 thing you know one of the gals was asking well, what do you do when you know your well is running dry but you still have writing that you have to. Have to deliver. You still have a deadline you have to meet and and I don't know she said it was helpful advice but you know in some ways. It's like I said well you know like the first really nonpit helpful piece of advice is don't let yourself get to that point and and you have to work really hard not to let yourself to get to that point. Because we tend to think well, it's not that big of a deal and someone else pointed out which I thought was really insightful that we think oh well you know like things that affect our mental health that those can be those can be set aside you know, especially if it's that or.
Disappointing someone or failing to make an important deadline So We'll be like oh well, you know I can recover my mental health later and it's like well sometimes you can and sometimes you crash and burn and when you crash and burn then it can take forever. To Recover. So The advice I gave her was I said cut out anything. That's not on fire treat this like an emergency because it is you. You're you know you have no water on the well so cut out everything that you possibly can. That's not on fire. And just concentrate on getting those things done that you have to and I said and aggressively refill the well which they were all laughing at me because that is kind of a funny image. We think of refilling the well as being like this very passive you know like um, you so you sit in the grape Arbor and you meditate which I. I Do um, it's this peaceful allowing in the seeping of the waters of Creativity. It's very zen right? Well that works if you're like in balance and everything's going great as a daily practice right? but.
If you have sucked that well dry and you've got the wildfires raging around you you don't have time for that shit and and I say that as a daoist right? So what you need to do and and I brought up a gif of the sorcer's apprentice right which I think lives on it it certainly came up immediately when I searched for it you know with Mickey Mouse playing the sorcer's apprentice and having to laboriously refill the well with buckets of water and instead. Um. Using magic to sum up an army. Oh I think he was well. It doesn't matter. He uses the mop and and animates the mop to fill up the bucket and soon he has this, he falls asleep and he has this army of mobs filling the well which is and the room is already filled with water. Um. So it's meant to be a cautionary tale of course and I think came from a story about the dangers of magic and laziness probably but um, but it's an important image because that is aggressive filling up the well right? that is. Going out to wherever your source is and getting the bucket and bringing it back and pouring it in there and going back and getting another one and pouring it in there and I think that it's important to think of it in those terms because.
You know, instead of this oh the well will you know the water will seep in and I will be zen. It's like well no, sometimes you have to tell everybody to I'm trying not to use the f bomb on this show and it's hard for me. You have to tell everyone to shut up. Stop their nonsense. We could be Emily Blunt from Devil Wears Prada right? I'm hearing this and I want to hear this ah that doesn't work if you're not on video but I'm sure you could envision it. Ah you have to tell everyone to shut up. Because you're filling the well and you go and you go see a movie by yourself or you watch your favorite show with your earbuds in or you listen to music and you dance or you go out and you go to a museum or you go to an art gallery and you walk around with your bucket. And you fill it up and you sometimes you have to do that aggressively fill the well vacations can be a way of aggressively filling the well where you deliberately unplug where you go to a place where um. Nobody can reach you and you can just be alone with your thoughts. It's hard if you're always vacation with your family. This is why some writers go on retreat right? and it's nice to go on retreat with other writers.
It's nice to do that with friends and that can be well, we're filling, but it's also good to go by yourself sometimes even if it's just to check into an inexpensive hotel overnight and just be by yourself just to allow your thoughts to settle. Refill that well on the flip side talking about vacations and holidays. Um, ah I'm trying to decide how much I I want to dig into this. Um, they can also become an. Ah, distraction and 1 thing about if you want to be a writer if you want to be a career author. Um there is a reason why we write all the time and it's not just to keep your head in the story but it's because that is the main. Core of your life that is where you live and I I talk a lot on here about making sacrifices right? that you make sacrifices in order to write books which means that you don't go do things you don't do things to in. Dolge yourself instead you you work on stuff. Um, it requires discipline and I'm not talking about overwork right? you know because it's slightly ironic I'm talking about this at the same time I'm talking about aggressively refilling the well.
But I think you can see how these are the flip sides of things when you are especially writing a novel when you are trying to be a career author and put out work at a reasonable rate meet your deadlines. Please you know your your publishers if you. Have a traditional publisher or your audience then you have to have that discipline to be there with the nose to the grindstone. Um, and you know if you if you're writing for the right reasons you love It. There's you know, even as we dread it and. Have to kind of grit through it Sometimes we also love it. But you know if you have a choice between you know, like okay so I have I think I mentioned this before but I have a friend who says that they. Want to be a writer. They've published a couple short stories they want to write this novel. Um, they you know, keep saying that they want to write this very very long novel and devote themselves to it. But. Then they make these choices to like go off on these long indulgent vacations and it's like well you know you could have taken that time off if you weren't going to Work. You could have taken that time to focus on the novel.
It's learning to make yourself work in concentrated ways. Um, and so and other people will give me shit occasionally and it's a sometimes it's good. You know. It's like well Jeffie why are you working on Fourth of July and it's like well because I'm taking time off in the next couple of weeks and there's nothing in particular I want to do on fourth of July but then I will go. Have some fun in the afternoon evening right? That doesn't have to be an entire day. So I think I have chased down all of my particular thoughts on this. Um, yeah, it's It's one of those things where you know people want hard and fast rules. They they want to know what they should and shouldn't do and part of having a self-directed career like this is that you you have to learn for yourself when you know. You are your own employee right? So you have to pay attention when does your employee need time off when is your employee being crushed by a deadline when does your employee need a little bit of tough love and saying no gotta sit down and.
Get this done. Ah, one of the difficulties when you're a newbie writer when you're starting out is that you almost always unless you're incredibly Lucky. You also have either a day job or you are some kind of full time Caregiver. Um. Where other people in the family ah have made the deal with you that if you take care of the kids or the elderly relatives or what have you that? Um, then they will cover you financially. But for most people this is the situation that they're in and so. When we start out as writers when we're doing other kinds of work primarily I'll have other obligations than writing as a hobby and we think about Hobbies as a thing that we do in our spare time for fun right. So like on vacations or holiday time you know that's when you get to spend the day doing your hobby or the weekend. You know it's like oh my husband spent the weekend in the workshop you know making birdhouses or whatever and it's.. It's a difficult transition to make um because working on your hobby is something that refills the well whereas doing creative work for especially if it's monetized if you have money.
Firmly attached to getting it done. Um, then it becomes something that drains the level and this is again a really delicate balance to strike and I've talked about on here and I could talk about it more if ask me if. You haven't heard it recently Enough. It may have been a while that one of the antidotes to Burnout is to have a non monetized Hobby to do something creative that is not attached to money and this is something that a lot of Creatives. Do. Because that can help refill the well it can aggressively fill the well if you're doing it. Um and wanted I don't want to say in the right way. But if it's actually refilling the well let's put it that way and you should be able to sense that whether or not it is if it becomes. Yet another obligation then it's going to be draining the well and you know it would be nice if we all had like little meters. You know like some of my hanging baskets I have them in those self-watering baskets and it has the little little thinger that. There's probably a word for it. Sorry like I want to say barometer and of course that's wrong, but it has a little gauge where this red straw pops up and when it's full I Could you know I can fill it up and I can see the red straw go up to the top to the fill line.
And then I can watch it come down and down and down and once it gets down then I can aggressively fill it so it would be great if we all had like a little pop-up straw I don't know on our forearm that shows us where our well is at but we don't get that. And it would be really handy because then we could show up to our families right? We could be like look look my straw is down at the bottom you can't ask me for anything else. But we don't have that. So instead we have to get very good at sensing it for ourselves and advocating for ourselves and. Taking it seriously taking that draining of the well seriously it's it is an emergency situation because once you get past you know, like if I don't refill my hanging basket. Um, the plant will die. And once the plant's dead. It's dead. So I think that's a surfeit of analogies for the day I hope you all have a wonderful Monday if you are working or not I hope it is all you want to to be that you're. Will is brimming over and um, yeah, and otherwise I will talk to you all on Friday you all take care. Okay bye bye.