Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly

De-Stress Your Writing Life – Living Life as a Writer (Part 1)

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Title artwork for De-Stress Your Writing Life

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?

No.

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.

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Author: Jessica

I'm a writer who refuses to pin myself down to one genre, hopping from science-fiction and fantasy through to literary and even the odd western now and then. Check out what I've written at www.jessicabaverstock.com or follow me on Twitter @jessbaverstock.

10 thoughts on “De-Stress Your Writing Life – Living Life as a Writer (Part 1)

  1. One thing that has helped tremendously, is plotting only when I absolutely need it and not every single chapter that I write. Which means for chapters I don’t need it I just let the word flow without plotting. But if I have writers block, then I might plot something like a 21 Act structure (3 sets of seven point structure) to indicate the beginning, middle, and end of a chapter.

    And so plotting just ends up being more of a kick in the pants, than a (this is where the plot must go.) Which has really helped get me in the middle of my second draft.

  2. I forgot to add, I also don’t make myself write every day. Sometimes I write a side story or two, so the creative doesn’t get bored with the same story. And then I go back to the next chapter of the project I was editing and revising.

    • Sarah, I love reading your comments about your creative routines. It sounds like you really notice what helps your Creativity and what doesn’t work for you.

      Having the freedom to write without heavy plotting when you want to is a liberating thing. I work along similar lines to you – plotting when necessary but allowing chapters to form themselves.

      As always, thanks for adding your thoughts.

  3. I wrote about this recently on my own blog — about how sometimes writing will start to feel like a chore. I think that’s okay though. I think sometimes you need to push yourself a little bit and not just sit and wait for the ideas to start flowing. Sometimes it’s going to be a grind — you just have to find ways to stay inspired. If you can bring yourself to keep going when it’s tough, that’s a good sign for how much you truly love it.

    I absolutely agree with what you said about being okay with your words not being perfect. That can’t be emphasized enough! So many people are afraid to start writing because they can’t get out of their own head and just start typing. Great advice there.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I agree. You can’t just sit around and wait for the ideas to come to you. You need to be writing, and sometimes that requires pushing through the discomfort barrier to get words on the page. That act of ‘work’ is one of the essential elements to getting ideas in the first place.

      You mention if you can keep going when it’s tough, that’s a sign of how much you love it. I think that’s the key. You need to be in *love* with writing. Once you have that adoration, then you’ll go through anything to get words out – and you’ll feel good about it in the process.

      I appreciate your comment and the great points you brought out. Thanks! 🙂

  4. Pingback: De-Stress Your Writing Life – Living Life as a Writer (Part 2) | Creativity's Workshop

  5. When things feel like I will never be good enough I turn up at my chair and just start typing it helps and I usually find inspiration from good old hard work.

    • I’m the same! It’s very easy to overthink things, and be convinced that your writing won’t work, before you even sit down to the page. Usually it’s best to just start typing and let the words find their own way out.

  6. Pingback: De-Stress Your Writing Life – Living Life as a Writer (Part 3) | Creativity's Workshop

  7. Pingback: Have You Missed Any of These De-Stress Your Writing Life Posts? | Creativity's Workshop

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