Monday, December 19, 2022

The Gift of Writing: The Many Reasons to Keep Going When Writing is Hard -- by Rachel

I write for the joy of it. Why else would I spend hours trying to carve out writing time around a busy life? But if we’re being honest, writing is the most demanding job I’ve ever done. So, when the day’s plot proves elusive or comes out flat and colorless, I begin to question myself. Should I give my time to a more straightforward pursuit, or you know, just breathe, instead of struggling with my unruly imagination?

Because those kinds of questions rear their heads so often, and because I got tired of wrestling with my mammoth self-doubt, I came up with several pages of why writing is a gift (which it is, even when I’m wrestling with my squirming first draft). This list has been my go-to reminder of why I write when the writing is hard. It sends me back to my computer with a metaphorical hug and a “it’s so worth it!”

Here's a sampling from that list. If you’re a writer and you struggle with self-doubt too, I hope you will find some inspiration from my list, and may even choose to write your own.

When I write:

  • I feel more “me;” writing is what I’m made for
  • I organize my flitting, sometimes distressing thoughts into something coherent and find their redemptive core
  • My senses start to sing (I see more beauty, taste my food, hear the music, find the mystic quality in the ordinary, until the mundane slips away)
  • My creative soul wakes up and brightens my world
  • I get to spend time with my writing friends who I love and cherish
  • My polished end products from blog posts to novels give me a sense of pride
  • There’s the surprise and delight of seeing a character take off on their own or a page practically write itself every once and a while
  • I go places and experience emotions that extend past the limits of my ordinary world
  • I’m reminded of the power of keeping at it – first tries often stink, but third and fourth and fifth tries sing
  • My readers are entertained
  • My readers may better understand people in their own lives through reading about my characters
  • I share beauty, and isn’t beauty meant to be shared?
  • I offer new perspectives, to myself and to my readers
  • I let my readers know they aren’t all alone in their experience of the world
  • I’m a happier, more confident mother because I’m creative (and a creative Rachel is a happier mom)
  • This introverted writer helps her loved ones know her better
  • I’m more confident and have more self-respect because I’ve finished big projects
  • When I write? What else is there? I’ve tried, and I can’t not write

Monday, December 5, 2022

WRITING PEACE by Christine

A Small Portion of Christine's Garden

Experiencing inner peace has become vital to me, not only as a writer but as a person. In my previous post I wrote about laying aside my writing for five years due to a decided lack of peace that had nothing to do with my actual life. My marriage was and remains to this day happy and loving, my children were all reasonably fine, and I had no chronic illness or extreme financial woes. My lack of peace was 100% due to the so-called marketing of my books.  

How heart weary I was of striving, striving, striving, to push my books forward. So, I stopped, and truly believed I would never take up the novelist's quill again. 

"But", you say, "we are told to follow our dreams. Reach for the stars. You can do it." 

Thing is, not all of us will achieve the success of Stephen King or JK Rowling. There are bills to pay so a steady job is needed. There are children to raise with all the love and attention we can give them. A spouse to faithfully support. Or we must rest because we are totally exhausted. There comes a time when we may have to set our dreams aside. 

A harsh truth, but one that I hope is refreshing. 

Rachel and I were chatting the other day, her in her Houston suburb, me in my small town Alberta Canada. She said something to the affect, "Life is too short to use up our precious minutes in something that does not bring us peace and happiness." That is the place I had come to. 

I scaled back for my sanity. With relief I took up a part-time job for income. For those five years on my days off, I soaked myself in planting and caring for my garden. I read books in said garden for pure pleasure. My inner peace became paramount.

  • So, I ask, is it time for you as a writer to consider scaling back?
  • Is publication a good idea for you right now?
  • Can you write in smaller increments?
  • Can you delay for a short while or a long while?
  • Are there ways to have inner peace and keep your writing dream alive?
After my five-year furlough I now work on my current novel only because it is my desire. I do my research because I like it. I see the work growing under my hands like the mounding clay of a sculptor, or a flowerbed under the worn gloves of a gardener, and I find joy. 

And this is my wish for you. If writing fills you up, write. If it drains you, put it aside for now. Life is too short for anything else. 

These days I write in utter peace, having no expectations for how it will be received by the publishing world. I simply enjoy the wonder of creating a fictional world to share with whomever will wish to read it. 

I am a writer. 

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