"What motivates you most strongly to maintain your writing life, even - or especially - when the going gets tough?"
by Sam Wiebe
[I'd like to thank everyone at Seven Criminal Minds for allowing me to participate. I'm filling in for Robin Spano for a few months. Hopefully she'll be back soon, and I won't besmirch her blogging reputation--or mine--too much in the meantime.]
So much of the writing business is out of our hands--publishing, sales, reviews, awards...there's no controlling those things, once you've sent off your book or story.
Most of the time, the cure for me is the writing. The quality is the one part of the process dependent on us, that we can control. Focusing on getting my thousand words a day, or doing a certain amount of revision, is a way to keep sane amidst the lunacy and unpredictability of the writing business.
The problem for me lies in the weeks right after sending off a manuscript or finishing a major project. What to do then? Without the routine, it's easier to be sucked into anxiety over when your agent or editor or publisher will get back to you, when the foreign rights will sell...all the business stuff which is ultimately out of our hands.
I wish I had the cure--I'd be taking it myself right now.
Ultimately, the only thing to do is turn back to the work. Start a new story. Try a different genre. Make sure your story submissions are current. Exercise what little power we as artists have. And please yourself--there's nothing saying you can't vary your schedule, put something aside, work on a flash fiction story, or run an idea by a friend.
And when all else fails, you can always go for a walk.