I attended a writing group yesterday and it reminded me of how rusty and out of shape I am. I often equate writing to going to the gym. Once you slack off for a significant amount of time, you get flabby and lazy, and once it becomes a habit, it is more difficult NOT to go.
That is how my writing has been for a few months now. Lacking and sporadic. And each day that passes without me putting words on paper, the more I beat myself up.
At this writer’s meeting, someone else was also struggling with that menacing wall that stands in front of us when we attempt to write. The Block. And the leader of the group said, “Don’t beat yourself up for not writing.” I thought she was talking to me, but she was looking at him. Obviously, it resonated with me.
Slacker. That is the voice inside my head that I hear each day I don’t write. It is not healthy, I know, but she’s right – I am a slacker. But, it is okay to do that sometimes.
Stop Beating Yourself Up For Not Writing!
I think many writers go through this. They come to a point where they just don’t want to write. Or have anything inspiring to write about. Or become indifferent. Life gets in the way and we find excuses to tend to those life things. We get busy and the writing becomes less and less of a priority. And the wall begins to plant its feet with the absences of creative fuel to knock it over.
This last year, not only did the months fly by, but I realized, my writing skills were starting to develop cobwebs. Using the workout analogy, I was getting muscle atrophy in my brain. Yes, I wrote a few freelance articles for others and I also wrote a couple blog posts in my travel blog, but for the most part I was not writing consistently. Loser.
That comment last night really struck me because I think that self-criticism by itself was causing much of my wall to grow to towering heights. To a point I didn’t think I could jump over it. So, I just avoided dealing with it. And my writing suffered. Have you ever felt this way?
But You Have to Write.
Just like complaining that you are not getting in shape as you avoid any form of physical exercise, you can’t complain about your lack of quality writing when you just don’t write. To keep up the habit, you have to do it. You have to write. Pen to paper, fingers to keyboard.
Another lady at this same writing meeting stated that you should write every day, even if it is just a sentence. She told all of us in the group to make it a habit, even when you don’t feel like it. When she mentioned that she has written every day in her life for the last eight years, the negative voice rose up in my mind: you really ARE a slacker. Yet, I knew she was right. Make it a habit.
Sigh. Okay, I am starting to shake off some of the rust. I hope you can be patient. I hope you can continue to read about my writing journey. And I hope to somehow inspire you to do the same.