by Mary Andrews http://www.FirebornChronicles
It is absolutely essential that you have contact with other writers--preferably in human form. Find or form a writers group or put one together on Skype.
"WHAT? I don't have the time for any of this! I have too much to do."
That's the problem, and it will drag you and your muse under. A book is a long production. From beginning to end there are thousands of words. After it is finished you will probably have read and rewritten it so many times that you can no longer see what's on your page. YOU WILL NEED OTHER EYES & MINDS TO FIND THESE THINGS YOU CAN NO LONGER SEE. Everybody does. Whether it's a formal writers group or a circle of friends capable of tough love, you need to know what others think about your work.
The best crit group I ever had was one where a group of writers planned one day a month to dedicate to critiquing each other. We brought food/drink and gathered; having read each other's stories, then drew lots as to who went first. It was understood we would all leave our egos at the door. During each critique, the writer of that piece was not allowed to speak or defend anything. (When 3 or 4 people find something's not working, there's probably a problem there.) I saw more monthly growth in that group than any other since.
But even more than that aspect of it, the contact and camaraderie we had with each other was invigorating. Being around other writers will inspire you as a writer. It's not the same on the computer groups as it is in the flesh either.
Going out to coffee with writing friends can actually make you want to write again. Perhaps we should ask someone for the psychological reason for this because I do not understand it myself. In fact, I am even resistant to doing this because I am so busy, but it really does refresh me enough bring myself back to life. ((Things like this should be scheduled into the Having-a-life file or some such thing.))
Another way to bring the dead back to life is to watch or read something that is so beautifully created that it inspires you to take up the pen as well. Artists have to create. It's what we were designed to do so when we see it, we feel compelled to fall in.
Don't make promises you can't keep. If you schedule a blog for someone, they will be counting on you to do it.
Don't beat yourself up for being human: it's one thing to try to manage time wisely, it's another to crush yourself under the weight of opportunities just because they're there. Larriane Wills mentioned the other day that the beauty of marketing is that it will always be there when you surface from your muse. In the MuseItUp Publishing house, Lea has provided us with so many marketing ops that she had to insist we keep writing and only do what we felt comfortable doing.
Truthfully, I think there is such a thing as too much marketing. Over the years I've come to recognize some names only to disregard their posts because I know they're only selling something. No matter what their expertise, I can always just look it up on their sites whenever I want. Perhaps this is a success story for them, perhaps not. Tricky business.
Remember nothing is absolute. Things change. Remain flexible but don't lose direction and you will go far, Grasshopper.