I wasn’t planning to write about this topic for the newsletter. It was going to contain some writing advice, as per usual. But this is what came out instead.
In the past three weeks, I’ve been ill twice. Most of my time has therefore been spent on completing work for clients and then catching up on essential household tasks (in that order). During this time, I have had exactly five opportunities to work on my personal writing, and each session was very short.
You’d better believe I’m annoyed. And frustrated. And angry.
I love writing. I love playing around with words and re-arranging them until they’re just right. I love it so much that I do it for a living. I love it so much that I’m working on several novels (they all started as short stories and kept getting longer). So if I love it so much, how could I allow myself to fall so far behind? Am I just lazy? Am I just pretending to love writing because I think it sounds cool? (“Oh, I’m a writer, don’t you know,” I imagine myself saying as I flip my scarf over my shoulder.) How could I let myself go for so long without working on my personal projects?
When I told a close friend that I was very disappointed in my progress, she said, “You’re being too hard on yourself.”
And the thing is, that’s exactly what I’d say to someone who told me that illness and work commitments had prevented them from writing. I’d tell them, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. Five writing sessions in twenty-one days is still an achievement, even if they were short. You at least made the effort to write when you could – you could have easily chosen not to.”
So why is it so hard to believe this also applies to me?
I don’t know. But I’ve noticed a lot of people feel the same way – what they accept about others, they can’t accept about themselves.
If you feel you’ve fallen behind, or that you should be writing more than you have been, I unfortunately don’t have any advice for you that will fix everything. I wish I did, because then maybe it would help me as well. All I can say is that you’re not alone. So let’s get back to writing. We’ll do it together. Grab a pen, or start up the computer, and start writing. Let’s make the time for it, right now, in this instant. We can easily pick up where we left off. The words will always be there, waiting patiently for us, no matter how long it’s been.
This week’s prompts
Use the following prompts to start a new piece, continue an existing one, or to just have fun with words.
1. Sparkly bottles of…
2. Which fictional spaceship is your favourite?
3. The one thing I know about hot air balloons is…
4. One stroke of the paintbrush and…
5. The copper lid clattered to the floor…
Questions? Suggestions? Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.