I am having trouble right now bringing myself to the page. In other words, I am having trouble making myself write. My creative juices are definitely not flowing. And then, of course, I feel guilty about not using this slowed down, stay-at-home time to be productive.
I know I am not alone. Many of my writer friends tell me that they are feeling the same way.
Well, as of today, I have turned over a new leaf. Instead of trying to live up to hard-to-meet writing goals and then not following through with them and then feeling bad about the whole thing, I’m going to give myself a break. I am going to get rid of those rigorous, hard-to-attain goals and instead, just try to bring myself to the page for a little bit of time every day. I don’t have to complete a story. I don’t have to edit or revise anything. I can write whatever I want and as much or as little as I want.
I am reminded of a quote I stumbled across a while ago on the official website of Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love. It applied then and it applies even more now.
“As for discipline—it’s important, but sort of over-rated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you. You will make vows: ‘I’m going to write for an hour every day’ and then you won’t do it. You will think ‘I suck. I’m such a failure. I’m washed up.’ Continuing to write after that heartache of disappointment doesn’t take only discipline but also self-forgiveness.”
Did you let that sink in?
Our guilt and disappoint can weigh us down, making a hard time harder. Guilt and self-loathing do not stimulate creativity.
So, the only writing discipline I’m pursuing right now is to not set myself up to feel disappointed or guilty about my daily choices for writing practice. Just writing for the fun of it. No pressure, no stress, just pure enjoyment!
Here are some different ways I am going to try to get myself writing just for the fun of it. Help yourself!
- Try your hand at morning pages as defined by Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way. (https://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/)
- Try writing a short poem every day for a week. Here is collection of short poems by 10 famous authors to get you inspired. (https://learnodo-newtonic.com/famous-short-poems)
- Pick out the best line from something you read today. Copy it in your journal and then analyze why you liked it.
- Find a mentor text to read and study. (With this one you don’t even have to write!)
- Write a descriptive paragraph detailing a small moment from your day. It doesn’t have to be a big important one. Maybe just the joy of your first sip of coffee in the morning.
- Write a nice, long luxurious letter. It can be to yourself or to a family member or friend.
- There are tons of sites on the internet that will give you a list of writing prompts. Download a list and get going.
- Read a book about writing. One of my favorite books on writing is The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo