Does It Always Have To Be About Writing?
My blog has been dormant for a month now. After the last Jot Conference I came to the realization that I was not growing much as a writer, at least not in the last year. I was writing, and that is always good, but I wanted to get better. I wanted to reach another plateau.
I decided to get back into reading about writing and practicing what I read. I’m reading The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell. On the cover it describes the content as: fiction writing strategies, tactics, and exercises.
This book has been a revelation. It’s short, concise, like a daily devotional for the writer. I am reading it through now, and can imagine myself reading a brief chapter before my writing time in the evening.
One of the most surprising things in the book was the emphasis on things other than writing. Of course, Mr. Bell mentions all writers must have a weekly word count goal built into their regimen and other routines the professional writer-to-be must incorporate, but tucked into its pages he also suggests doing things like memorizing a Chopin ballad, play the ukulele, go for a hike, and several other activities that have nothing to do with writing.
Writing is my main hobby. I am working on another novel now and prepping a few short stories for submission, but I was getting burnt out. I gave every free moment I had to writing on my laptop. I work at a desk all day and stare at two computer monitors. I get my fill of screen time and thus it is hard to force myself to come to the computer when the day is done.
However, when it came to free time and I wanted to go for a run, or watch hockey, or just read a book, guilt would creep in. Guilt that I wasn’t getting to my daily word count. Guilt that I was being a slacker and needed to get to work! Honestly, it would eat me up.
This book has given me permission to enjoy my free time a bit more, and to do so without the guilt of not writing. I still write and still think of my novels and short stories all of the time, but it is also good to live, to refill your creative well, and to find joy in things other than writing. I also need to remember to use the revival these things can give and use it as fuel.
12 thoughts on “Does It Always Have To Be About Writing?”
Good post. Most brilliant writers obsess about their writing, sometimes to the exclusion of everyone else, including family, but I’ve learned early enough I’m not like that. I can’t be like that. Yes, my thoughts are constantly filled with things about writing, my stories, etc., but my family is such a big part of me that my writing isn’t more important. It is part of me, but it’s not the whole me. You have to live outside of your writing. If you do that, writing becomes a joy again. Just my experience, anyway.
I should just post this as a blog Woelf. This is brilliant. Sometimes I dive in too deep and forgot. Not my family but Joy in life is an important thing to maintain!
How’s the writing going?
I have my moments, but they’re sparse. 😉 Not too bad. I’m involved in my first ever workshop and it’s illuminating. Revisions on The Morrigan is taking forever, but I’m doing it right this time, not forcing anything and still spending time with my wife and kids, though I must admit, my wife is pushing me to finish. I don’t blame her. LOL
Good for her! Keep me posted on The Morrigan and the progress. I’ll be sure to check your site too.
I shall do so and I thank you. Your presence at my site shall be welcomed and dare I say, celebrated. (I’m reading a fantasy at the moment. Can you tell?)
I just finished Roger Lancelyn Green’s Myth’s of the Norsemen, so I know that of which you speak :).
That you do indeed, my friend.
Great stuff! As someone who is making a foray into the world of “writing,” it’s nice to know it doesn’t need to consume you at the expense of all else.
Brian. Good to hear from you. Good luck as you wade deeper. I’d recommend anything by James Scott Bell. Also, follow the blog http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/. it’s excellent.
What are you writing?
Sorry just saw your comment! I’m currently just writing my blog on here, but hope to write a book about my journey through depression and reconciling that with my faith. And since you used the phrase “wade deeper” you should check out my blog post for today! 🙂 If you’d like! 🙂 Pax tecum!
This is a great reminder that we can still be writing even when we’re not in the act of writing.
After a 10 hour day at work, I couldn’t bare the thought of sitting at the computer for another hour or two to write a few blogs. I headed to the gym instead and ended up writing an entire article in my head while grinding away at the machine. When I got home, I wrote the first draft in 15 minutes and then went on with my evening. It probably would have taken me three times as long if I had made myself stay where I was.
Breaks are needed. Don’t ever feel guilty about that!
Indeed Ashlee. Going for a run or doing something physical seems to set my subconscious into motion so it can figure out the story/blog/article. It’s hard to remember that at times as I get somewhat obsessive about my work. Going for a run, working around the house, cleaning, or even folding laundry helps a lot.