Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Set The Blood Suckers Free!

As aspiring writers (aka pre-published), there will always be a sea of obstacles to detract from our writing.  Intangible hurdles like doubt, fear, pride and tangible conflicts like family, friends, a full time job, and illness.  Some of this we cannot control, but we need to quit kidding ourselves and admit that a lot of it we CAN control.
You can’t help it if you or a loved one gets sick.  You can’t help it if your job makes you work over time.  You CAN help it if you’re afraid of success or failure.  You CAN help it if someone is sucking the “umph” out of you, intentionally or not.
To speak to the intangible, I’ve seen a bevy of workshops that directly address fear and doubt.  Don’t be ashamed to take one.  Use it as a tax write off!  Another very important tool is having a writing “support group”.  This could be your critique group, but not necessarily.  Go out and find yourself a group of like minded (or somewhat like minded) individuals that love writing and reading and want to grow in their craft.  I recommend you all write in different genres because you’ll be surprised at the insight.  Mingle with these people, share horror stories, your woe, your insecurities, and your strengths.  Socialize with them about more than just writing, lean on each other during the hard times, and party your patootie off during the good!
To speak to the tangible, there are a few things you can do.  If family and friends and your “real job” are consistently taking up huge chunks of your writing time, find a way to carve out a little time for yourself.  This may require a family meeting.  Don’t be scared to call one.
If you’re in a situation that’s only temporarily taking up all your time, use small moments to brainstorm ideas.  Jot notes.  Don’t ever stop writing completely unless you have no other choice.  Writing uses a muscle(s).  I don’t know what they are, all I know is we use ‘em!  If you stop for too long, you have to whip yourself back into shape.  That takes time and at first feels awkward and sluggish.  Even if it’s only fifty words of dialogue a day, never quit cold turkey!
Finally, if it’s something or someone else that’s dimming your shine and they aren’t a best friend or family member, you need step away.  We’ve all had that Negative Nancy co-worker who scoffs at our dream, we all know that casual friend who is an emotional vampire.  She will bleed you dry of all energy and motivation.  Why do we surround ourselves with these people?  If you can’t step away completely, at least limit their exposure.  You are responsible for you.  If Negative Nancy or Emo Emily are exhausting and you find you can’t write for days after dealing with them, it’s time to cut them loose. 


Elizabeth Michels said...

Amen, Sister! That 80"s song keeps playing in my head..."Ain't nobody gonna slow me down. Oh no I got to keep on movin'." LOL I totally just dated myself, didn't I? Great post! I need to listen to your sage advice and say "No" next time I think to take on an unnecessary project...Because this is our year!!!!

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