The Business of Writing

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So often writers complain about lack of inspiration or writer’s block. It’s not that these aren’t issues for us, but I see a larger problem behind the complaints. The best way to illustrate exactly what I mean would be to chronicle my journey as a writer.

When I first started writing, I waited for that lightning strike of inspiration to begin a post or story. Convinced that writing was a matter of feeling the words, I would go for days or weeks without putting pen to page, and then emotionally vomit out words. The posts were fair and well-received, but in all honesty they weren’t anything earth shattering. Sure, I had my own style—slightly clunky at times—and form. Again nothing any other writer couldn’t do.

This process applied to my novel as well. I would wait days, weeks, or sometimes months before I would block out a scene because I thought the universe needed to send me just the right inspiration to write it properly. I’d used everything from the dishes to laundry to my kids as an excuse as to why I wasn’t open to that divine hammer wallop.

The truth? I’d chosen not to do the work, chosen not to put in the long hours required to write properly or continually.

It’s akin to a toddler throwing a tantrum. “I can’t write, I can’t write, I can’t do it! You’re not gonna make me until I’m good and ready.” Yep, that was me inside my head.

*squeezes temples in shame*

After working with some incredible editors and writing coaches, I began to see the cycle clearly—the choice I’d made time and again to not write. Even now I fall back into that pattern for a little bit before I stop, reset, and refocus.

The work of a writer is not in waiting for inspiration or the right mood, it’s a dedication to putting our rears into the chair and blocking or outlining or actually writing. There’s never a lack of stories or subjects, only a lack of commitment to our craft. That may sound harsh, but more often than not I find that it’s true.

Writing is hard work. To do it well, we must continually hone our craft through reading, taking classes, writing, blocking, or working with people who can help us see through our bad habits. It requires the same devotion as any other profession. In order for us to continue to grow we must make the choice to work hard and work often. That’s the cold, hard, in our face truth.

Having said all of that, I do believe that taking a break from a WIP—consciously putting it aside for several months—can give us a new perspective. Time is good for that, but it doesn’t mean that we walk away from writing altogether. There are still other stories, posts, or craft-based books for us to seek out. Again, we must choose to evolve or find something else that better suits our personalities and passions. But even then, we’ll still need to put in the effort to make that new passion a success.

So, I guess this post is a call to action, a call to my fellow writers to make the choice to write instead of excuses as to why it’s not happening. I know it’s in you, I’ve seen the incredible universes inside your head. Make the choice to live out your passion whether or not you know exactly where it’s going or how to get there. All journeys start somewhere and it’s the steps in-between that make every moment worth it.

*Heart Hugs*

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Categories: Choice, Craft, Inspiration, journey, writing, Writing Process | Tags: , , | 12 Comments

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12 thoughts on “The Business of Writing

  1. I love this! I go through the same sort of thing in the music writers world. There is never a lack of inspiration…there is a lack of focus to work and it IS hard, especially when you’re not “feeling it.” As a songwriter I try to run writing drills when I’m having a hard time to help loosen up my mind and it always works like a charm.

    As a general life rule I work very hard at not judging others, but I do have an initial reaction of head shake/pity when someone tells me they only write when they are inspired. I feel grateful that I’ve been able to free myself from that limitation.

    Xoxoxo
    Alex

  2. I just want to say I’m beginner to weblog and really loved this website. Likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You surely have excellent articles. With thanks for sharing your web-site.

  3. You’re absolutely right, and I myself am guilty of putting off writing because I don’t feel “in the mood”, as it were. One of my resolutions this year is to write at least one hour a day. It’s not a huge chunk of time, but I figure that once I get going I hopefully won’t want to stop, which will lead to many words put to paper.

    • Excellent, Michelle! Any time you dedicate to your craft is worth it, and an hour is a great place to start. 🙂 *grabs pompoms* Keep on writing! *Heart Hugs*

  4. If I took your words and made a list, it would describe – in perfect order – the reason I created #justwrite and #writeraw. EXCELLENT article.

  5. Ranee! I love this! I have been saying this to myself after the cathartic “growing up” tweets I did. I found it difficult afterwards to find my voice, wondering if I ‘talked” myself out. You have highlighted in this post exactly how I write, have written. I love that you have written this now, just when I needed it, and yes I will make the choice to write, instead of my words writing me. Who’s in charge here anyway? ♥ hugs ♥

    • Great to you, Sweetie! Yeah, it seems easier and easier to avoid the issue of not writing. The world gives us a million and one ways to procrastinate, but choice is really the point. Your choice to continue to put the work in and write is a joyful one because I love your unique perspective on the world. Thank you for stopping by and keep writing! *Heart Hugs*

  6. I sometimes joke that I want to have written a novel, not so much actually write a novel. But you’re right, we have to dig in and do it!

  7. Great post, Ranee, and so, so true. I make the choice not to write far too often. I’m attempting to turn that around this year with the Resolution Writers.

    Em ❤

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