I don’t know about many of you, but I often need to remind myself, “you can begin that task now.” I always “wait until Monday” to start the week fresh. Or, if the first of the month is around the corner, I’ll start fresh then.
Now, I’ve gotten better at doing whatever tickles my fancy. I don’t put things off until a new week, month, or quarter of the year.
But I will say it’s a brand new year, and I feel refreshed. 2022 was a mess. Things have been stressful, from my mental health to family illness and from an unexpected death to house construction.
I know it’s just another day, but I feel like I can put 2022 behind me, and I look forward to some new things coming my way in 2023.
The older I get, the more I see the world’s true colors. The news is sad. People are unkind. The finish line for many gets moved the moment they’re one step away from it. This has happened to me on some occasions, and I always thought I had done something wrong. But I’m beginning to realize that’s not the case.
But how do I turn my thinking around that’s embedded in my brain? That’s embedded in what “society” expects from me.
I realize you have no idea what I’m talking about because you know nothing about me or my life. But I’m assuming you’re reading these words and finding them oddly relatable. We’re learning a lot about ourselves, the people around us, and the true intentions of society.
At the ripe old age of 29, I’m finally waking up about who I am. I’m actively learning more about my mental health and recognizing why I do this and why I do that.
I’m hoping, within the next 12 months, I’ll finally have answers about who I am and my purpose. But, of course, the first step to do that is to turn my thinking around.
But why am I explaining all this? And what does that have to do with the blog and creative writing? Well, it’s a somewhat poor explanation about why I haven’t been consistent for the past year (or two or three).
I need to shift my priorities around. And, it’s odd for me to say that writing will not be one of those priorities.
I still love writing. I still want to write. I still want to self-publish my books someday. But now is not the time.
For years, I’ve worked on my novels with the intent of being a full-time author. But, somewhere along the line, the fun of writing diminished. My mind was more about marketing plans and saving money for a cover designer and editor. I was focused on building my audience and everything else that did not involve actual writing.
I’ll explain further by saying an unpopular opinion: the writing community has changed (and not for the better).
The writing community thrived when I began writing and started my blog in 2012. I met so many excellent writers, bloggers, and readers. We’d swap writing tips and advice, book recommendations, and more. I made many friends.
Somewhere though, the community evolved into more of the “business” side. I’d go on Twitter, and most of the tweets on my feed and under various writing hashtags were, “buy my book!” or simply a link to Amazon.
I’m all for self-promotion, but there was no engagement anymore. There was no solid communication. There was no authenticity.
My DMs and emails grew stuffed with writers throwing their books in my face. Some pitched their book professionally, and others did not. Some took the time to learn my likes and dislikes, while others couldn’t be bothered to know my name. My favorite emails are when people send me a copy of their books unsolicited, expecting I’ll do something with it simply because I received a “free copy” (that I didn’t ask for).
Long story short, I don’t want to be bogged down with marketing. I don’t want to engage with other writers for the sole purpose of pushing my book in their faces. I don’t want to write to make sales and money.
I want to write because I enjoy the ride with my characters. I enjoy the creative process. I enjoy the learning experience from the research I conduct.
Writing has not been fulfilling for me in that sense. And it hasn’t been for a long time.
I always complained that I had difficulty getting into a writing routine. However, I recently realized that wasn’t the case. I remember the writing community’s advice back in the day: “you need to write every day.” Or, “you need to work on your novel for x-amount of hours per week.”
All these years, I’ve struggled with a routine because writers kept telling me if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to do so for most of my week. I needed to do it “full-time.”
My sister and I used to go to Barnes & Noble every Saturday morning for about two to three hours. Then, we’d get coffee and write. Some days we edited or brainstormed. On other days, the inspiration wasn’t there. So, we’d chit-chat about our books or people-watch. But we did that for at least eight years. Maybe longer because I can’t remember when we actually started doing it.
That’s, give or take, 52 writing days per year for at least eight years. Even though it was once a week, that was a writing routine. It stopped because Covid shut the world down in March 2020. And we never went back.
For 2023, I’m still going to write. But I’m going to do it for me. I will take my time. I will not worry about marketing, publishing, or hiring an editor until I believe it’s the right time to do so. Until I’m ready to do so.
With that said, my sister and I decided it was time for us to get back into that writing routine. Things have been crazy busy for us, though. So instead of going to Barnes & Noble every week, we’ve decided to go at least on the first Saturday of every month. If we can go more often, then great. But we’re aiming for once a month.The end goal of completing my novel is to complete it, not to prepare it.
The Merry Writer Podcast
Even though I won’t focus on my creative writing as much, The Merry Writer Podcast is still strong. I could never give that up. Ari and I work so well together, the podcast is such a fun experience, and we’ve met many cool people.
We’ve brainstormed new and fun ways to boost the podcast in 2023. We’ve put together new rewards on our Patreon Page. We’ve reworked some of the show’s structure. We also put together a FAQ page and form for people to apply to be guests on the show.
I look forward to making the podcast a better listening experience.
What About The Blog?
In some ways, my thoughts on writing have come full circle. I used to put so much time and effort into my blog before deciding I needed to slow down and focus on my books. Now, I realize I need to slow the focus on my books and begin content writing again.
I used to post daily on my blog and burnt myself out after a few years. But I started freelance content writing in 2017 and fell in love with it. I’ve learned so much working with other people on their websites.
I love creative writing but no longer want to turn that into a career. I love writing blog content, though. So, I’ll get back to writing about writing.
Changing Things Up (Again)
I want to get back into a routine, but I don’t want to burn myself out. I want to get back into blogging, but I don’t want to publish an article daily. So, I’m no longer setting those goals for myself.
I have many features – Short Story Sunday, Mental Health Monday, book reviews, etc. Instead of cramming them all in every week, I’ll post them as I feel comfortable doing so.
For example, I’m not forcing myself to read one or two books weekly to get a review posted. I’m not going to write a short story every month to have a blog post go up on Sundays.
If I write a story that I decide to share on the blog, then that particular month will have a Short Story Sunday feature.
However, I will post twice a week, consistently. Wednesdays are new podcast episodes, and Fridays will be articles about creative writing.
I’ve brought back monthly themes for my articles, too.
- January – March: Pre-writing (such as outlining, research, etc.)
- April – June: Writing
- July – August: Revisions and Edits
- September – October: Publishing
- November – December: Marketing
I already have some articles written and scheduled. It’s been refreshing to get back into article content writing.
Opening The Floor To Your Guys
Since I’ll be publishing fewer articles, I decided to bring back some other features I haven’t had in a long time.
- Book Review Policy – I’ve opened my book review requests again. You can head to my policies page and find the guidelines for requesting a book review from me. After reading through the guidelines, there will be a link to a Google Form.
- Guest Post Guidelines – Also, on the policies page, you’ll find guidelines for writing a guest post for this blog. Read through that and fill out the Google Form linked on that page if you’re interested.
- Author Interview Guidelines – I miss doing these. Like guest posts and book reviews, there’s a guidelines page under policies. Read through it and fill out the Google Form if you want to be featured on the blog.
I’m slowly figuring out my life. Better late than never, right? I’m learning to take things day by day.
2023 will be a great year. And, if it’s not, I hope I’ll finally have the tools to deal with it appropriately.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2023 be happy and healthy for us all.
Rachel Poli is an indie author, podcaster, and content writer working on her debut cozy mystery novel.
Although she favors mystery, Rachel is a multi-genre author with too many ideas and characters in her head, often experimenting with short stories and flash fiction.
When she’s not writing, she’s reading, organizing something, or playing video games. She currently resides in New England with her zoo.