Sunday, November 4, 2012
Why Some of My Greatest "Writing" Days Don't Involve Writing...
Not true. Not always.
As a scribe who has produced over 700 articles, columns, feature pieces, interviews and poems, (for more than a decade), I can assure you that this ritual is not required for everyone.
As a matter of reference, I admit that I don't feel compelled to put pen to paper 24/7.
Even the Lord took a break on the 7th day, we are told. :-)
Some days, I find that my time is better spent doing research or reading. Other times, I may go blog hopping to see what's up with you guys. I also try to have enough activity, variety and interaction that would create a life interesting enough for folks to want to read about. Hello!
From an analytical perspective, here's what I have found to be true about my creative process. See if you agree, based upon your experience or mindset...
1. Anything that feels "forced" tends to be more draining than productive.
In other words, trying to write when I am physically fatigued, or when I'm not thinking clearly, or when the computer is driving me mad with glitches, pop-ups, and slow speeds can be a bit counter-productive. To allow for these "off days" I always make sure to work ahead of any deadlines I may have with editors and clients, so I don't feel any added pressures. You should too.
2. Hanging out with other creative artists should be a part of every writer's creative process.
I find that my mind is elevated and my soul is fed when I spend time with other poets and writers. Rarely is gossip on the menu when we get together. Instead these brilliant individuals allow me to connect, converse about important social issues, deal with the blows of editors' rejections, and kick back, laugh, eat, drink and celebrate life. Whether it's through meet-ups at your local coffee shop, attending book signings, or having a wine and cheese party at your place, make sure to spend time with other artists to broaden your horizons. To quote Joel Osteen's sermon this morning, "Go where you're celebrated, not tolerated."
3. All writing with no marketing efforts will make for "a broke" writer.
Let's face it: for many writers, having to get on the phone to cold call, or doing the many other tasks that support our writing business can be a bit boring. Still, every savvy scribe knows that it must be factored in to the success equation. Though I don't relish marketing for myself, (I'd rather do it for my clients), I am always tickled pink when it results in a new business relationship. A day devoted to marketing is a must.
4. Watching movies allows me to relax and inspires my muse.
At least once a week, (typically on weekends), I like to unwind to a good movie or two.
This activity actually helps me to examine plot, dialogue, characterization, and discover the many tools and techniques needed to engage an audience. Not to mention, many times it results in a movie review, (with pay). Which is a great bonus for my leisurely efforts.
Keep in mind that each writer must establish consistent, diligent habits to go the distance and make a difference.
But this doesn't mean that great writing days have to always involve writing.
What do you say? Thoughts here?