The ups & downs of writing are normal.
Sometimes when we write it is like mining for the gold inside of us and it takes us on a journey through forests or waters so deep we find hell, or we navigate mountainsides that only our inner goat can climb. Writing lets us fall, fail and flounder. Writing can also be simple and kind and graceful.
Writing can be a calling, such that if someone said, “You can no longer write!” Your spirit would die.
Writing can narrate our innermost thoughts as we let go of the rules and give our inner critic a rest.
Writing can teach us from our mistakes.
Writing can be like a doodle that feels endless, or certain, silly or serious.
Writing can playful. It can pullout the sides of our self that are hidden.
Writing is a dialogue with our soul.
Inspiration comes as we write.
Often when I start to write one thought leads to another. Sometimes changing my surroundings helps. For instance, taking a walk or a nap, visiting a coffee shop can be inspiring. Words want to be expressed. We just need to let them find us.
Although there are days when nothing helps and it’s best for me to stop trying so hard and let it go. The ideas are there but the words need to steep.
Writing is something that we can learn.
Writing is a process. We learn new techniques. We gain grammar skills. We find that having an editor will help but finding the right editor is another story! Each time we write we gain mastery of our style. We find what works and what doesn’t.
For instance, on Facebook I keep my posts around 200–300 words. And even less on Instagram. Occasionally I go over but then I risk ‘who-will-read-it’ syndrome because I’m not the only one writing and sharing.
Most writers write to learn; many begin with only a vague sense of what they want to do; many begin in ignorance.
In high school, I had several teachers tell me, “Your writing is awful.” By the time I got to college I was put in several remedial classes, one of which was for writing. I had no self-confidence. My shyness was debilitating. It took one kind professor to believe in me and my writing started to come out.
I believe one of my strengths as a writer is, I learn well from my mistakes when the critique is given out of support and kindness. This process has been freeing for me.
Most writers write regularly; the regularity is comforting. Writing Through difficult times often yields what writers consider to be their most mature work.
Usually, I write nearly every day. During my most difficult times, writing has been a healing agency witnessing me, right next to a box of tissues.
Even writers who claim to write directly revise.
Revisions are as necessary as getting the first draft onto the page. I can change a piece several dozen times before I feel confident enough share it. Even afterwards, I will see a different way I could have written something. I also see this as progress. What I wrote seven years ago is almost completely different to how I write now.
Small, regular blocks of time devoted to writing are sufficient for us to use writing as a way of healing.
As I mentioned above, I write nearly every day. Sometimes it is only for 20 minutes while I’m having my breakfast and before I start to see clients.
It has become a habit to write down my observations, feelings, lists, gratitude, difficulties, projects, writing goals — whatever is pressing me in the moment or what I want to work on in the future. I keep notepads everywhere: car, bathroom, nightstand, kitchen — to capture that random thought, phrase, idea.
Like this little ditty came through with such easy I nearly knocked over my glass of wine reaching for a notepad. I was braiding my thoughts with the flow of the sea:
“I’ll close my eyes now
and braid my thoughts
over the back of worn blue chair
letting the genesis of dreams
marinate with silence
ready to share.”
Writing seems to go through distinct predictable stages for almost everyone. And not every stage is pleasurable.
This tidbit couldn’t be truer! The beginning of nearly any new piece is full of excitement or drenched in feelings (despair, sadness, joy, clarity).
The next stage can be a complete block as to where should I go next with this piece. Or the overwhelm that comes with editing and preparing for a book.
I started to feel each piece was the same. I had major doubts.
After I submitted the final manuscript to the publisher, I thought I was done. How far from the truth! There were more edits, layouts, decisions on the cover, font styles, font size, asking people for advance praise, an author bio. The list felt endless.
I’m currently working on a novel and I’m in the ‘I must be crazy stage!’
Bold italics are an excerpt from: Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives, by Louise DeSalvo.