Monday, February 10, 2020

10 Things to Help You Fall Back in Love with Writing


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

It's February—the month of love. And I want to remind us all how to stay in love with the writing life!

I’m a member of several writing groups, and I’m always amazed at the different reactions people have to similar situations. For instance, one writer might leave a critique session in tears, questioning whether or not the call to write was real. Another writer might have just as challenging a critique and leave energized because she now has the insight she needs to improve.

I’ve begun paying attention to the way the writers I respect handle this writing life. I’ve noticed that even though life gets hard at times, they never fall out of love with writing. I’m trying to take deliberate steps to guard my love of writing and not let things and/or people steal it from me. Today I’d like to share what I’ve discovered with you.

Fall Back in Love With Writing
1. Stop Being a One Way Writer. By this I mean that we’re only happy when things turn out one way. We want things a certain way and in a certain time-frame. Truthfully, it’s the writers who are flexible that stay deeply in love with the writing life.

2. Be willing to Let Go of Expectations. This one word can derail us for months, or even years, if we let it. It’s fine to make plans, but we can’t hang our hope—or our love of writing—on expectations. 

3. Learning to Roll with the Punches. Hard times will come in this business. Landing a book deal and/or an agent is tough, and rarely happens quickly. When we have those two things, life can still blindside us. Contracts are cancelled, editors and agents move on without us. We’ve got to pick ourselves up and get back to writing, no matter what happens.

4. Stop Looking Backward. If we dwell on the way things used to be in publishing, we’ll always be miserable. Not because things were always better, but because we think we remember them being better. Whether they were or weren’t really isn’t the point. What we need to do is learn what we can from the past and then keep our eyes firmly forward.

5. Quit Chasing Trends. It’s tempting to tailor what we’re writing to what’s currently popular with publishers. But that’s a dead end road. There’s always something new, and it’s just not possible to pull out a crystal ball and write to what’s going to be hot when it hit the market. A wise writer gave me some advice I’ve never regretted following. “Write your passion. Don’t settle. Write what you love.” Kristen Heitzmann

6. Don't Listen to the Negative Voices. There are two types of negative voices—the ones that live in your head and the ones belonging to those around us. I believe it’s the ones inside us that are the most dangerous. For one thing, they’re much more brazen. They say things that we’d never speak out loud. But if we let others also talk us out of following our dreams, they can be dangerous too. Take constructive criticism, but don’t let the negative words bring you down.

7. Refuse to Give in to Fear. No matter how much we achieve as writers, we’re still fearful. We’re afraid of failure, of ridicule, even of success. But those writers who keep their joy are the ones who continue on in spite of the fear. They even get stronger because of the fear they overcome. 

8. Reject Perfectionism. We want to strive for our very best. But we need to understand that perfection is out of our grasp. Perfectionism can keep us from submitting our work for publication, and it can even keep us from writing. Aim high and always keep learning, but be willing accept the best you can do.

9. Write Regularly. I truly believe that if our purpose in life is writing, and we don't make time to write, we'll be miserable. I know so many people who want to write, know they're called to write, and yet let everything else squeeze out the time to write. They are some of the most stressed out folks you'll ever see. 

10. Don't Forget the Reason You Started Writing in the First Place. We can get so caught up in the chase, that we forget why we entered the race. For me, God made me a writer. I process life through words. When I hit hard times and good times, one of my first actions is to record it, process it, and cope with it through writing. When I return to that, no matter what else is going on, everything falls into place.

These are the ways I’ve found to make sure I never fall out of love with writing. What would you add? 

Don’t forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,

8 comments:

  1. Such a needed blessing this morning Ms. Edie. Sometimes it feels like writing becomes a "chore." One more thing that has to get done. When that happens, I start to lose my joy in writing. I start to question "why am I doing this to myself?" Thank you for your encouraging word this morning ma'am. We do this task called writing because we are called to it. It's our special way of honoring all that God has given us. Thank you for the reminder my friend. God's blessings!

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  2. Great post, Edie! For me, it has come down to refusing to let others rob my writing time. I can't choose my family - God did that for me. But I'm finding I can do more in choosing my friends. I no longer take calls from, read & answer emails from, or accept invitations from people and organizations that rob me of writing time and involve me in their world. The challenge for me is to limit our time together. I've found that I'm unable to do anything at all about their ongoing problems other than pray for them. Yesterday I heard of a writer who had to go to another country just to find the solitude to write. Sounds extreme and doesn't need to be. I once read that the challenge of achieving goals was to master the art of being ruthless with time and gracious with people. The older I get and the more writing things swirl in my head, the more I realize I need to keep working on that principle. It's my time, my path, my life. Some will never understand and respect that; so I have to choose more friends who do.
    Jay Wright; Anderson, SC

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  3. Those are all so true and number 6 and 7 are the hardest for me. That's why encouragement from other writers is so important. blog sites like this one, conferences and critique groups are our friends.

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  4. Thank you, I needed to hear this message. I have been discouraged for a time. Part of it may have been due to my writing not advancing. I will be joining two others late this afternoon for a Writing Group meeting. I will print this out and share with them. Thank you for all your help.

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  5. These are so good! Thank you for the reminders.

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  6. Thank you. That last one hit home. :)

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  7. I love all of these, Edie, and I especially relate to number three. Rolling with the punches, but not giving up, can be challenging. More often, a "no" or rejection challenges and energizes me, like you mentioned with the writer friend, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting. Thanks for sharing the list! It's spot on!

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  8. Thank you for a reminder of several reasons to still love writing. I appreciated the reminder to remember why we started writing.

    I would add this suggestion: to let go of envy of other writers. We're all on different journeys!

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