I have been putting a lot of thought into my writing. I have been attempting to streamline the process to write more consistently. Last month, I realized I was stuck. It was as if my creative spirit had been pulled from my body leaving only the shell it was held in. I looked closer at the problem and realized I was being immobilized by my own fears of failure or even of success. I had put too much pressure on myself and withheld the tools to accomplish the job.
In short, I have noticed a major self-defeating practice within my own writing process. One that is keeping me from being able to accomplish my own goals. I had not been respecting my own talent, my own craft. I expected to have that pull, a drive that would take me to my computer and hammer out the words. They should just flow from my head through my fingers and on to the screen with relative ease. Writing this book shouldn’t be hard, because I enjoy the story and love my characters. I was wrong.
I don’t think writing this book should be hard, but I think the process should be respected. Writing doesn’t just happen, you have to work to make it flow. Just because the words aren’t flowing properly or you can’t think of anything to write doesn’t mean you should give up for the night. Writing isn’t a perfect craft. I have come to realize that the belief that you will be drawn to your keyboard to write is naive, not to say it doesn’t happen, but I shouldn’t expect it to be the norm of writing. Recently, I have been working through those bumps in the road. If I am having problems sorting out a scene or I don’t know what to write about next, I start talking to my husband about the book. During the course of our conversations, I suddenly have ideas on where to go next or what the next scene should be. I believe the same outcome would occur if started reading parts of the book aloud to myself, as half of our conversations are me reading passages of the book to him.
The belief that I should only write when I am in the mood to be creative is a thing of the past. I don’t know how I expect my craft to develop without practice. So those days when I am not feeling overly thrilled to write, I write. It’s just like going to my job, some days I just don’t feel like showing up and working, but I go anyway. Occasionally, I surprise myself by having a great day at work or being overly productive. I have vowed to start treating my writing in the same manner. It was time to stop treating my writing as a hobby and treating it much more seriously. This week I have treated my writing more seriously and I have found the love for my book and the desire to finish it has returned. I have even pleasantly surprised myself on those days I didn’t really feel like writing. I have sat down and wrote, at first it was difficult, but then the words and the scenes started playing out in my head.
My prior expectation of writing only when I felt like writing and giving up when I didn’t, is much like expecting to cook like a gourmet chef on your first attempt at cooking a meal. It’s unrealistic and setting myself up for failure. Now is the time to make the transition from hobbyist to author. My writing is my second job, it’s time to start respecting it, before I get fired.