Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday Writerly Ways ~ Give Yourself Permission...

Occasionally, you have to give yourself permission not to write. I've read so many blogs and how-tos about writing lately that basically states to be a writer you must write everyday. That just isn't true and an unrealistic goal.

You set yourself up for failure and burn out by not giving yourself a choice. On Tuesday I talked about keeping yourself free of frustration. This is another area that writers have trouble with.

You've got to play hooky every once in a while in order to experience life. Do you envision a writer's life where you have nothing but time to sit in front of your keyboard and write? But is that really what you want?

So many newbie authors express the wish to do nothing more than sit and write full-time. What is full-time? Forty hours a week, fifty, sixty? Keeping those kind of hours writing, I guarantee you'll burn out just like you do at your regular job.

I never wished to stay at home and do nothing but write. Guess what, I never did until now. Don't get me wrong. I love uninterrupted time writing and creating something from my imagination as much as any author, but there is a limit. A point when you close of your word processor, and get out to see real life.

I write from the point of view of human experiences. Yeah, I've experienced a lot in my sixty plus years on this planet, but there is so much more. A lot of times I'll scream that my life is too crazy and I wish it would slow down. That's not going to happen unless I make it happen.

I write myself a permission slip to play hooky for a day or two. I don't have to write everyday to be a writer. I take breaks of days or weeks. Am I still a writer? Yes. The creed to the left aside. Strike that. Actually, I do write something everyday, but it might not be my manuscript. It might be a blog on one of my sites. It might be a grocery list because I can be creative in the kitchen. It might be a recipe for the same reason. It might be a note to my DH (darling hubby) to remind him of something, but it is not writing as in a story.

When writing becomes something you have to do, other than a joy, why do it?  I know if you are like me, you are driven to write. Anything. Everything. It's such a pleasurable experience and you don't feel complete without doing it.. like breathing. Then why would you want to do it full-time? Wouldn't it then become work and therefore less enjoyable?

I'm delving deep towards the philosophical now. Whether you write full-time or part-time, you've got to allow yourself time off. Whether its to stop and smell the flowers, walk your dog in the park, or just veg out in front of the television. You'll come back refreshed with  a new outlook.Who knows where your next inspiration will come from. If you  don't take time off, you may miss something fantastic.

So what are you waiting for? Start writing yourself a bunch of permission slips.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

8 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

I don't write every day. I can't. Even without the interruptions that come with life and two small children. I never write on sunday as that's the Lords day and I usually give Saturday to my family. So at the most I could only write five days a week. Some weeks it's much less than that.

J.L. Murphey said...

Sara,
I know. I hear you. It irritates me when I hear to be a writer you must write everyday. I hear it so often now.

Lara said...

So true! I think it's important when starting out to make a daily (or as regular as possible) commitment, so that you build a good writing habit. But you're correct--it's imperative to take time off to recharge and let yourself reflect on the story and characters. Most of my ideas come when I'm not actually in front of the keyboard!

J.L. Murphey said...

Lara,
I don't know if it's even possible when you are first starting out. The idea is to not stress yourself with HAVING to write. Stress is thee #1 creative juices killer. But when first starting to write, it is important to remember not to kick yourself when you are already down. But reflecting is a good option.

Debra Giuffrida said...

I do that to myself. I stress out knowing that I have to write or I won't finish the book, thus my blog The Reluctant Author...you start making excuses not to write. So, Jo, I will write that permission slip and stop beating myself up. The bruises have become way too plentiful and I wish to heal.

J.L. Murphey said...

Debra,
It will do you good.

Nicole Pyles said...

So true! I have allowed this for myself these days, and it feels wonderful. I think sometimes we can box ourselves in by not wanting to move out of the cage of writing 24/7. I do write everyday, but it isn't always creative. It's articles, it's blog posts, it's reflective writing - just giving yourself a break matters a lot!

J.L. Murphey said...

Nicole,
Articles, blogs, and reflective writing are creative writing too. Now the creation from nothing like a novel takes creativity to a whole new level.