Slowing Down and Changing Gears.

I’m tired. I don’t want to admit it, but I am.

I promised myself last year to pay more attention to my ‘give-a-fuck’-budget, and by that I meant that I needed to consider whether something was really worth my time, my energy or my money. I also said that if an event I was invited to involved fake smiling, I wasn’t going to go.

The most likely reason I am tired is because I have broken these two promises to myself.

I throw a lot of myself into everything I do. I get excited and passionate and, foolishly, I expect other people to share that energy. I forget that most people don’t have the same amount of drive or they are simply too busy and can’t, (or won’t,) make the time.

I tell myself that’s okay, but it doesn’t stop me feeling disappointed. I’ve found social media particularly bad for this, I can’t tell if it’s due to algorithms messing up my reach, or people simply being apathetic, but I’ve felt, on more than one occasion, like I’m shouting from a high mountain into a void. My voice is nothing more than a squeak. Social media exhausts me and I know it’s toxic for me. Yet it is also one of the easiest ways of connecting with people, of bringing like-minded souls together. So I persevere.

I also know my mood fluctuates frequently, thanks to depression, chronic illnesses and PMDD. I tend to throw myself into what I do to counter these afflictions. Sometimes at the expense of self-care. Lack of feedback or validation can make these feelings worse. Thus the downward spiral continues. As much as I don’t want to, I have to accept that I cannot do everything on my own and by myself.

All that said, I am setting myself limits on the things I do now, and prioritising the ventures I get involved in. The Well-Written blog has not worked how I hoped it would, I suspect it may be time to retire it, or to reconsider its purpose. The Facebook group has plenty of members, but very few contributors. Again, I need to reconsider in which direction it needs to go.

In comparison, the Wild Women, Wild Voices workshop has received a phenomenal amount of interest, which tells me that is a much stronger area to focus on. I am still absolutely committed to writing for well-being and promoting initiatives to support positive mental health.

I have almost finished my first book – a collection of short speculative fiction stories. I aim to publish the ebook on various platforms in late March. I will be writing about the process and sharing that later in the year, possibly also offering a workshop – a guide to self-publishing.

My frequent readers know that my mantra is to never ask for, nor wait for permission to share your art. Writing a book has been a journey of self-discovery and expression, and I have found many wonderful people in the writing community who have both helped and inspired me. I have listened and learned and finally completed something I am proud of. I would not have been able to do that if I had not stopped seeking permission to take up space.

I will also be volunteering to help with and promote ConZealand, the world science fiction convention, due to be held in Wellington in 2020.

Introspection and re-evaluation are all very necessary parts of a creative journey, and the returns must at least validate, if not celebrate, the process. You will not win every time, but you must learn from your losses; adapt and improve. Self-care is essential, you cannot pour from an empty cup. Likewise, you cannot lead and inspire others if you are not inspired yourself.

This isn’t meant to be a ‘poor me’ post. This is simply me, being honest with myself, accepting my limits, and focusing on what is important and fulfilling right now. If I don’t slow down, I will break. I’m not stopping, I’m just easing off the gas a little. I’m taking some time to enjoy the ride.

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