This year I’m blogging my book De-Stress Your Writing Life. You can read it for free on Creativity’s Workshop every Friday.
So we have our most basic definition of a writer as being ‘a person who writes.’
Is this now the part where we start talking about word counts, grammar rules and plot points?
In fact, did you feel your stomach tighten when I mentioned those three things? Did you start to feel a heaviness come over you?
The writing life often causes stress because, as writers, we feel the need to fill a certain quota of words in order to qualify for the title, or obey specific writing rules, or conform to a pre-set structure.
“Doesn’t writing involve at least some of that?” you may ask.
Maybe. But we’re going to ignore that for the moment.
Instead, I want you to focus on the act of being a writer. And I want you to focus on that role without actually writing anything until you want to – until you are drawn to the page. I don’t want you to write a single word until you feel the words within you itching to get out.
Does that sound a little strange?
I have my reasons. Would you like to know what they are?
The Bubbling of Words
Too often we view writing as a chore. Perhaps this happens during our school years where we are forced to meet word counts and create essays on subjects that hold very little interest for us. Writing becomes about the end result rather than the joy of the process.
Yes, the process should be a joy. For many writers, the act of writing is a fulfilling activity they look forward to.
“Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say.” Sharon O’Brien
As a writer, you too can find the sweet spot within you where words seem to force themselves out through your fingertips, rather than you having to go in search of them.
The sustainable writer is one who has plenty of places her writing could take her – perhaps too many to properly pursue in her lifetime. Words are her constant companions, the means by which she describes and understands her world.
Writing becomes as natural, and as necessary, as breathing. At that point, sitting down to the page and writing is the equivalent of sitting down and taking a few deliberate breaths.
For me, the sensation is one of words bubbling up inside of me until they have to come out. In fact, the thing that finally motivated me to switch from hunt-and-peck typing to touch typing was the drive to find a way for my fingers to keep up with my brain.
So how does this bubbling come about?
The secret is to first understand your mental, emotional and creative needs, and then actively fill those needs.
For me personally, I need the following things:
- A belief in myself that I am a writer and my words are worthwhile.
- A belief that my words never have to be perfect, but just have to exist.
- A regular creative routine which encourages me to turn up to the page every morning.
- Fascinating facts and people to fill me with writing ideas.
You may find your list is similar, or there may be other elements that specifically apply to your situation.
We will focus on the positive beliefs and creative routine in future chapters. For the moment, let’s look at the last element mentioned – the idea fodder.
Tune in next week for the next instalment of this chapter.
In the meantime, please add your comment below. What are your mental, emotional and creative needs? How do you keep your words joyfully bubbling inside you?
Like most writers, I have to be frugal with my funds. So if you’ve enjoyed today’s post and would like to read more, I’d be grateful if you could leave a little in the kitty to help keep things afloat. Everyone who donates will receive a free electronic copy of the book once it has reached completion. Thanks for dropping by.