The writing process is hard. No one is telling you to get up an hour early to finish your chapter or polish your final draft. No one is cheering every time you find the write way to right a scene. No one cherishes your words or admires the sweat it took to type them. We love to write, yet it is torture of our own creating. As writers, we wake up every morning thinking about writing, wishing we had more time to write and agonizing over what we haven’t written.
I’m there with you. It’s hard every time I face my WIP. My subconscious turns small tasks such as a blog post into a giant time-consuming monster. When will I find the time? What will I write? Does anyone care about what I write?
I’m learning how to break that down by stopping the noise in my head that pulls me away from being creative. You see, as writers, we need creative time. It is the medicine that keeps us balanced and happy.
Mindfulness is a widely used stress reduction technique which can do wonders. I stop worrying about what I didn’t do or what’s happening next week. I take a few deep breaths and visualize what I have in front of me. Sometimes it’s my day job and I actually get more done than I thought I could because my mind is focused. Other times it is my beautiful daughter, and I am focused on her words and how wonderful she is at 7 years old and how she will only be this way this minute and if I don’t pay attention I’ll miss it.
When I sit to write, I focus on the characters and their issues and what they need to work through and accomplish. I leave the tension on the page. Killing your inner critic is hard.
If you think this sounds like New Age hogwash, try reading it from Ray Bradbury’s perspective in “Zen in the Art of Writing”. Writers are creating worlds, giving birth to characters and controlling the fates of every soul in their writing. Writing is supposed to be hard work, but our self-doubt should not be part of the process. Show up and put in the work, don’t worry if it’s any good or wonder if anyone will ever read it. Write for yourself and be present in the moment for your characters. You can be critical when you go into editing mode, but then, isn’t that another opportunity to be present and creative? You’re shaping the clay of your writing to a polished reading experience.
Take five-minutes right now to stop the distractions and breathe, be present and write without expectations or doubt. Perhaps a mystery about a mutilated inner critic found floating in a sea of Alka-Seltzer.
Random Thoughts NOT on Writing
The world is getting smaller and bigger at the same time. Our everyday lives, media and technology are fusing to create a new group-think that influences our choices and behaviors. What if we harnessed that power for good rather than distraction?
The Waze app on my phone uses crowd sourcing to help me navigate around construction and traffic snarls, even warning me when there’s a car parked on the shoulder of the road. This has saved me time and headaches even while driving familiar routes.
Roger Water (Photo credit: Serjao Carvalho)
During the intermission of Roger Water’s concert, I searched Twitter and found dozens of other concert goers posting comments and pictures of the show. Suddenly the sea of strangers transformed to a welcoming, shared experience.
We are a virtual herd, changing direction and changing each other in the process. What are your thoughts?