I’ll start this post with a caveat—I admit that many of the posts in The Literary Game may sound quite trite; however, in such a creative profession as ours, sometimes we writers can easily lose our way, disregarding or forgetting the fundamentals.
When these fundamentals are lost, the wheels fall off of the wagon.
It’s my intention to help you keep that from happening.
On that note, there is nothing more fundamental to the profession than for a writer to actually enjoy writing. It may sound strange to think otherwise, but many writers of immense potential simply stop writing. Far too often, it’s because the fundamentals were dismissed and frustration set in.
Without further ado, here are five suggestions that will keep writing from turning into a chore:
1. Master Your Life – If stresses from various situations in your life are bothering you, then the time and discipline that being a serious writer requires may seem like an unworthy imposition. Counterintuitive as it may seem, for writers whose lives are in turmoil, recognize that your basic needs should always come first and don’t feel obligated to write. If you can handle writing while your life is insane, go on and do it, but don’t feel guilty if you just simply can’t deal with it at the moment.
I want to add to this suggestion a quote from Doris Lessing, “Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” Follow her advice and don’t use MINOR problems as excuses, but unless you lead a charmed life, recognize that everyone faces difficulties all the time. I only suggest a break from writing if the difficulties are a threat to the physical or mental health of you and/or your loved ones.
2. Avoid overly rigid writing schedules – Everyone loves NaNoWriMo, but the pressure of a consistent writing routine that’s unbreakable can definitely turn writing into a chore. While I strongly advise writers to write on a regular basis (because the more you write, the better your writing will be), if you become more focused on the actual time slot than what you’re writing, the fun will quickly dissipate.
3. Avoid long absences from writing – With the exception of a situation that’s pressing, don’t go weeks at a time without writing. The best ideas flow and major improvement comes about from writing on a regular basis. Enjoy life, handle your responsibilities, but be sure to make time for writing too. Writers who stop writing for a while out of ennui or for other reasons often find it a chore to get back into the habit.
4. Depending on your personality, avoid writing-related jobs – Some people can only handle so much of something they love. I personally enjoy balancing time spent on my own writing with helping other writers by working as an editor and publishing consultant. That’s not for everyone though. Some people might really need to work in something totally different until they can support themselves from their creative writing alone, otherwise the constant focus on writing might burn them out.
5. Get social – Writing is a solitary profession. Unless you’re a complete introvert, the isolation of writing may start to wear on you. This is where a healthy social life, especially one featuring activities with other writers, can really help counter one of the profession’s biggest drawbacks.
Thank you for reading The Literary Game! If you found this post helpful, please help spread the word by sharing it on your blog or social media. Thanks! ~ Alfonso