Monday, November 30, 2015

the hardest thing about writing

It's a miracle, actually, that any of us gets anything written around the holidays. Between preparing for company, planning meals, baking cookies, mailing cards (if you're that old fashioned...), decorating indoors and out, and wrapping gifts, it can be a challenge to put two consecutive thoughts together in proper order.

And, it's not just the holidays that slow us down. Life hands us all kinds of interruptions and distractions. Some are happy events like the birth of a baby, a wedding, or an overdue vacation. You celebrate them with the people you love, and you enjoy doing it even when it puts your work on hold.

Unfortunately, some are unhappy occasions--a death in the family, the loss of a job, or an illness. Because there is so much to think about and so much to do, writing has to take a back seat for a while. People need your attention and your care. You may not be able to shake off your own sadness, or pain, or fear.

When life gets in the way, you can't simply ignore it in the battle to make your word count for the day. You can't just sneak away, when no one is looking, to hang out with your manuscript.

Image result for person sneaking away--clipart

You may not want to.

So what will you do when you can't write, or don't want to write? When you don't have the time, or the energy, or the motivation to line up perfect little sentences for someone else to judge?

Quoting James Baldwin:

"One writes out of only one thing--one's own experience. 
Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience
the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give."

Whether sweet or bitter, savor or submit to every moment. Don't waste a drop. Because this is what will inform your writing when you do take up your work again. Anticipation, joy, and kinship, deeply felt, have the power to uplift the reader. Likewise, tribulation, well written, connects the reader with his own reality and tempers his own sorrow.

Is it hard for you to maintain your writing practice during the holiday season? Is there something else preventing you from writing?

"There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't,
and the secret is this: 
It's not the writing part that's hard. 
What's hard is sitting down to write."
~Steven Pressfield~
Sit. Stay. Write. Whenever you can...

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