IWSG – Dec 2020 – Productivity and Mental Health

Once upon a time, I wrote every day: two hours before dawn, then after the kids and the job, late into the night. I used an old IBM typewriter. It was the 80s. I was obsessed.

One day, several years later, Dead Witness was published and life as I’d known it changed. Besides taking care of hubby and five sons, and working full-time, I poured every bit of energy I had left into marketing. I won’t bore you with the details, but if you can list ten top marketing strategies, rested assured, I applied them.

A publisher picked up my second novel, and I thought “Yay, I don’t have to work so hard this time.”


Janet Crum said something in her post this week that resonated. Which reminds me you should check out her blog, it’s awesome. Janet said the pandemic is exhausting.


This month’s question: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why? …  I’m too tired to remember. But I should probably admit that I was exhausted long before the pandemic stuck.

How the heck do authors spin out 2 to 3 manuscripts a year, then market them???

For most of my life, I was a regular person like the rest of you. Now I’m trying to adapt to being a senior. This oldness dropped out of the blue two years ago and blind-sighted me. While I do write regularly, (I didn’t last year) I equate productivity to marketing and I’m falling short. I need to apologize to my readers and especially my publishers for that. I wish I could promise I’ll be my ole self once I’m vaccinated.

The point I’m trying to make is I’m tired, yes, but I’m okay about it.  My spirit and psyche are healthy.  I make a mental gratitude list every single morning before my eyes open. I smile — a lot.

It hasn’t always been that way. I once told a close friend that I thought I’d been born sad. I couldn’t justify my sadness so I blamed it on generics.

In 2017 I had an accident, broke my femur, had my hip replaced, and then hosted a pity-party for 18 months. It’s a long story I’ve mentioned before. Suffice to say I saw the dark side and I like the bright side better. Truth be known, I was visiting the dark side most of my life.

If I don’t sell a million copies of my books anytime soon, it’s okay. I have a beautiful life. I can nap whenever I please. And I do. If I occasionally feel glum, unmotivated, and unenergized, that’s okay, too. I love being alive. I love writing. And I love good books.

I see so many people struggling to have it all: the relationship, the family, the friends, the career. You should have it all. You deserve it. Dream big. Know in your heart you’re worthy. But if you should decide one day that life in this very instance is good, perfect, in fact — smile. Keep smiling, even if it’s just to yourself. Choose to smile as often as you can. And when you can’t, don’t worry; whatever is wrong will pass.

This month I’ll finish my WIP. I know I said that last January. I mean it this time because I figured out what went wrong. I didn’t want to finish it. Now I do.



ps. In the near future, I’ll be working with author Hank Quense to rejuvenate my marketing strategies. Thank you, Hank!

IWSG was created by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh — because Alex understands we need a safe place to congregate, insecurity is part of our creative nature, and together we’re stronger.

On the first Wednesday of each month, you can write on any subject related to your writing journey or adopt the option of answering the month’s question. Either way, you’re in safe territory.

If this sounds like a good place to be, sign up here.

IWSG’s Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, a question is announced that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

December 2 question – Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why?
The awesome co-hosts for the December 2 posting of the IWSG are Pat Garcia, Sylvia Ney, Liesbet @ Roaming About Cathrina Constantine, and Natalie Aguirre!

Please take time to stop by and thank them for their time.




Comments 14

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  2. Five boys and a husband? Of course you are tired. Although, I have four girls and a son. Girls are tough, too! I’m truly worried about the marketing aspect of publishing a book. I hope I can do it! Bravo to you getting yourself back on the happy side of life. More power to you! Have a beautiful holiday!

  3. You are so right, we have to want to finish them. Good luck with your WIP, Joylene, and being ready. I agree that all the pandemic stuff wears you down. It becomes really important to find ways to recharge.

  4. I hear you, Joylene! I’m trying to adjust to being a senior, too. How did that happen so fast? For the first time in my life, during the last few weeks, I feel like I’ve peaked and am on the downhill slide. I think it must be Covid exhaustion. I am not ready to slide downhill ~ LOL! Way to go with that WIP! I’m excited for you! Wishing you lots of success in finishing it and getting it published. You know I’ll buy a copy! Have a Merry Christmas with your loved ones, whether online or in person! Be happy, grateful, and safe!

  5. Hi Joylene,
    You are an amazing person. filled with joy and inspiration to everyone that meets you. I love your honesty, especially when you talk about the dark side of life. You do understand. Even more I’m happy for you that your WIP will be completed this month. Nice way to close 2020.

    Thank you for introducing me to me to Hank Quense. Knowledgeable with a great sense of humor.

  6. If I occasionally feel glum, unmotivated, and unenergized, that’s okay, too. I love being alive. I love writing. And I love good books…. I loved reading this …I have so many ideas but I’ve never been able to go beyond a limit … I’m too critical..one day may be I won’t give up in between

  7. “How the heck do authors spin out 2 to 3 manuscripts a year, then market them???” <— I have no idea. lol It usually takes me two years to write a book. But a lot of manuscripts I've started and set aside…so those have been years in the making. I know an author who has published like 10 eBooks (maybe not all novels) this year. Craziness.

    Thank you so much for signing up for my blog tour!

  8. Thanks so much for the shout-out. Your blog is awesome, too!

    “If I occasionally feel glum, unmotivated, and unenergized, that’s okay, too.” – THIS THIS THIS! I have those days regularly, and they used to scare me. Am I developing depression like my dad had? Has the creative spark gone for good? Am I going to just exist rather than live… till I die? (Why yes, my inner monologue is a bit of a drama queen.) Now I’ve mostly learned to just accept that life has ups and downs, and I should take care of myself on those down days and ride the high of the up days, knowing that neither will last.

  9. Hi,
    To be honest, I’ve never given it much thought to selling a million books. What I have given thought to is writing what I believe in. Touching people’s lives so that they look in the mirror and maybe change their perspectives about others and about themselves.

    I’ve done my best to protect myself from the Pandemic and since I work from home in my office in my basement, I have been able to achieve much more than I thought possible.

    Take care and I wish you an enjoyable Christmas and a safe passage into 2021.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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