Yep, you read that title correctly. You shouldn’t read this blog. Stop right now.
Because you should be off somewhere writing.
I used to read so many writing blogs. Probably at least one third of the time I spent at the computer was reading blogs.
Why was I reading them?
- I wanted to learn more about writing (because there’s always something more to learn about writing).
- I wanted to understand the trends in the publishing industry so I could keep up with the curve.
- I wanted to know what my fellow writers were writing about so I could comment.
- I wanted to make friends with other writers and share guest posts with them.
- Most of all, I thought it would make me a better writer in the long run.
Are any of these reasons sounding familiar?
Some blogs made me feel positive, others stressed me out and still others made me feel utterly overwhelmed. I started wondering to myself:
- Can I really make it as a writer?
- How will I ever remember all of these things?
- The industry is changing so fast. Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Will it be stable enough by the time I want to publish?
Each day my approach to the page was altered by the latest blog post I’d read. Should I be writing fast? Should I be writing slow? How many words a day is a good average? Are my characters strong enough? Am I using too many adverbs? Will this piece be marketable? How am I going to get my em dashes to show up correctly on Kindle?
Each time my husband would catch me at the computer reading a blog, he’d tap me on the shoulder and say, “You shouldn’t be reading. You should be writing! You know all this. Just write!”
It took me a while to see the wisdom in his words. After all, aren’t the best writers the ones who keep reading? How am I going to learn and improve if I don’t listen to the experience of other writers?
Finally, gradually, I switched my focus. I made sure I started my day with my writing rather than reading blogs.
And you know what? I learned more from my daily writing practice than I had learned from the blogs I’d been reading.
Because I’d found the things that worked for me. Yes, there were plenty of things I’d learned while reading blogs, but they didn’t do me any good until I actually worked things out for myself on the page.
Am I saying that you should never read a writing blog?
Well…that might be going a bit far, but it’s at least worth considering – even if its just for a couple of weeks.
See what kind of a writer you are when it’s just you and the page. Because in the end writing has nothing to do with what you do and don’t agree with in other people’s posts. It’s got nothing to do with how many adjectives you use in your prose. It’s got nothing to do with the latest numbers from Amazon or the latest demise of a bookstore chain.
It has to do with the magical thing that happens when you turn letters into words, words into sentences and sentences into stories. That’s what writing is.
You definitely can’t do that while reading this blog or any other.
If you do want to keep up your blog reading routine, then ask yourself these questions about each blog you visit.
- Would I be better off writing right now, instead of reading?
- Does this blog make me feel excited about myself and my writing or does it leave me feeling deflated, perhaps even depressed?
If you’re not up to writing, and the blog keeps you creatively buoyant, then it’s worth a read. Otherwise, get yourself back to your writing – because you’re a writer and that’s the best place for you to be.
Whenever I post to Creativity’s Workshop I work hard to keep the subjects positive and inspiring. I aim to motivate you to find your own creative and prolific writing routine. But at the end of the day, I hope to see you writing.
So if you’re too busy writing to read my blog, then I am very, very happy for you! I wish you a happy and fulfilled writing life.
If you want to be busy writing but you can’t get yourself into a good creative routine, then sign up for a creative coaching session and we can talk about finding your creative rhythm.
February 11, 2014 at 8:20 am
Ha thanks, the email was helpful. Though I will say this blog does a good job making one not depressed. I started slowing down around chapter eleven, then started forcing myself to write by doing a work around. Doing the old fashioned pen and pamphlet, and writing a poetry version. But by keeping myself off the internet, while doing chapter eleven. And of course now I’m at 17,345 words instead of the old 10,000 words. So I ended up raising the barrier to 20,000.
I look forward to future posts.
February 11, 2014 at 8:56 am
I’m very glad to hear you’re making such great progress on your writing project! It’s so tempting when the writing slows to turn to the internet (I’m guilty of this too!). I love it that you’re finding ways to work around your block and continue writing. It’s really paying off for you.
Keep up the great work!
February 11, 2014 at 10:36 am
Thanks Jessica – your’s will be the last one I read today (or at least until I write another 1200 words) 🙂 Before I do head back to the writing space, though, I wanted to say how much I agree with your point about writing first, then reading. I am not a morning person by any stretch, but I find that I do my best writing (and am more motivated to write) if it is the first thing I do of a morning before I get distracted by newspapers, facebook, twitter, email and work (typically in that order). If I have a good session of writing, reading blogs is like a reward and sometimes helps me to find the next burst of motivation and inspiration to keep writing. Okay, enough chit-chat – time for us both to get writing!
February 11, 2014 at 10:41 am
I’m so glad you agree, Mikhaeyla. I struggle not to look at my e-mail in the morning, but I know I get more accomplished if I don’t. I too view reading blogs as a reward. I get a positive feeling from reading them just because I know I’ve already done my writing.
Thanks for you comment. Enjoy your next 1200 words!
February 11, 2014 at 10:12 pm
Each morning I think I’ll just take care of some of the easy things around the house and on the computer – so I won’t feel them hanging over my head while I write. Before I know it, it’s late afternoon and I’m still not working on my own writing. Lucky for me, I’m a night person and am very used to writing into the early morning hours. But I do wish I could turn that around, and do my own work early, and then just relax and enjoy the evening. Something I’m determined to work on this year. Thanks for your reminder… and now, farewell until I’ve completed my own writing!
February 12, 2014 at 8:46 am
Oh, that’s so easily done! I’ve resigned myself to the fact that there will always be things ‘hanging over my head’ as it were. If I get my writing done early, then there’s plenty of wiggle room to fit everything else in around it. If I don’t get it in, then it’s so much harder to find the space later on (and so much easier to put it off until tomorrow).
I really hope you’re able to find a routine that works for you this year. Do you have an idea of how you’ll accomplish it?
February 14, 2014 at 3:05 am
I’m still working on that… and struggling with it today. The first thing I must conquer is resetting my body clock to get up at least an hour earlier, and taking advantage of that time before the rest of the day intrudes.
February 14, 2014 at 8:35 am
I struggle with waking up earlier too, but it’s amazing what that extra hour allows you to do. I find it make such a difference to my day when I manage to do it. I hope it does the same for you. 🙂
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