One thing I’ve learned from this workshop about discovering and using my strengths is that since most of my strengths involve learning, getting information, and thinking, I get energy from doing those things. It’s not just procrastination when I do a lot more research than I probably need to write something. It’s part of what makes my brain happy so it can do better work. That also gives my brain more to work with in thinking about the story, and it gives me time to puzzle it all out.
It also seems that doing the things that you’re strong with is a good way to avoid burnout because it gives you energy. I’ve almost always started a book project with a kind of “retreat” in which I read and watch stuff related to that project or that reminds me of the project in some way, and it turns out this is good for giving me the energy I need to dive in. But I think it might be good to make time to do regular retreats like this to maintain that energy. It doesn’t even necessarily have to relate directly to the book I’m working on. Just taking time to watch documentaries, read books on history, and brainstorm is good for me.
I’ve hit the midpoint of this book, and after a bunch of false starts and rewrites I think I’m finally on the right track, so now it’s time to figure out the rest. Therefore, since it’s a cool, dreary day (my favorite kind of weather), I’m going to devote the rest of the day to a retreat of sorts. I have class material to work through, and otherwise I’m going to find some documentaries and do some brainstorming while huddled under the electric blanket and drinking tea. Then I can drive forward into the rest of the book starting next week. It’s a lot easier for me to write when I’m able to picture what happens next.