Does It Always Have To Be About Writing?

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.The art of war for writers

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.



Inspiration 1000 Years in the Making

Stone Knife
Stone Knife

Stephen King takes walks.
CS Lewis took walks.

Walking holds a special place for writers. Perhaps it’s searching for something other than normal or maybe it’s the fresh air that comes with it. But the fact remains that walking or the experiences that happen during a walk, has enchanted for centuries.

A few months ago I went for a walk and found inspiration.

It was cold at first, the wind attacking from the southeast bringing a biting chill that my clothes hardly withstood. I was in a field walking with my dad and brother in between furrows of newly tilled earth. We trained our eyes on the ground and said little. You see, I come from a family of hunters. But that day we were not looking for game. We were searching for history.

“Here are some examples”, my brother said holding up a case of ancient Native American artifacts. There were sacred rocks and arrowheads, stone knifes, and a gamut of other tools. I stared at them excited to get my hands dirty and see what we might find. I knew that we might not find anything at all, but I love the idea of pulling something from the earth that has been there for centuries.

We plodded along for a half hour while bending over to inspect any stone that resembled an arrowhead or tool.

I bent down and pulled a rock from the soil and noticed something. It appeared to have a serrated edge. I brought it to my brother. “That’s a knife probably used for taking the scales off of fish,” he confirmed.

My mind went wild. I swam in and played hockey on the pond nearby.
It was incredible to think Native Americans once fished there.

By the end of the search I held and arrowhead and a knife and a newfound love for wandering in fields. Oh, and a whole bunch of new short stories.

I hope that whatever you do today, be it the same old thing or something new, that you find inspiration to get back to the page.

Stone Arrowhead
My Findings