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Monday, August 15, 2016

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

Stipula fountain pen" by Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterioderivative work: InverseHypercube - Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

Once I realized that my week was coming up, I started to ponder what I wanted to talk about in my writing life. And the thought that occurred had two components. One: the labels we put on ourselves. And two: the things that we have told ourselves we must do in this writing thing.

In the writing realm on the Internet, certain "truths" float around. We're all introverts. We all mainline our coffee. We're either a "panster" or a "plotter". We should write every day. We should always be working on our novels (or memoirs, or whatever it is we are writing). We should write our first draft quickly, then go back and edit it. And those are just the ones that come off the top of my head.

Of course, reality is murkier. So, when life throws us a curveball (death in the family, car accident, loss of a job, or any of the other myriad of things that go with having a life), we feel guilty for not writing through it.

I think it's time to stop and assess. What are some ideas about writing that you've been holding on to that no longer serve you?

When I started on this writing journey, I needed to make it a habit, so I made it my goal to write every day. Every. Day. Christmas. My birthday. When I had a head cold. (Those three days where I was throwing up every couple hours I took off.) When I went on vacation. (Although, that didn't work out so well.)

But since then, I've had to reevaluate this. Things happened. Time evaporated. I had a choice between sleeping and writing, and sleeping won. Stressors made it so I couldn't concentrate. So, writing slowed. But wonder of all wonders, it didn't stop. (I guess it became ingrained enough that I couldn't stop it permanently.)

We can get through it. But first, we have to take out all the things that make us feel lesser than. Like we're not writers.

What "shoulds" are you putting on your writing? 


Bish Denham said...

My biggest "should" is to have fun. If I don't enjoy writing, if it becomes a chore, then what's the point? :D

Liz A. said...

Bish, I think that's a good "should" to have.

Huntress said...

Forcing myself to write every day is like beginning a new diet, I succeed for a while, trip and fall on my face. The Guilt Train arrives and I climb aboard. Tell myself that I'll do better next time, rinse and repeat.
I am more productive (with less angst) when I let the muse appear on its own.

Liz A. said...

Huntress, it sounds like writing every day isn't you thing. (That's why I gave up on dieting.)

Magic Love Crow said...

You have to have fun and it has to come from your soul!

mshatch said...

I gave up on either being a total pantser, or total plotter. I prefer the combo method. I also don't write every day, and I sometimes use passive sentences, cliches, and tell instead of show.

Liz A. said...

Yes, Magic Love Crow, that is so true.

mshatch, passive sentences sometimes are necessary. And a quick tell is good when it's something that is just a passing bit. But don't tell any newbie writers that ;)

Theresa Milstein said...

Should is tricky. I worry when I know a fellow writer is having a drought. They go months without writing, and I fear they won't get back. The biggest mistake if living the writing life and pretending it's writing. But we need breaks. And we need life experience with which to write about.

Liz A. said...

Theresa, we all do need breaks. It's good to remember that.

Valerie Capps said...

For personal reasons I gave up writing under my own name many years ago, but soon discovered I couldn't NOT write. I started ghostwriting and wrote several articles, short stories, and eBooks over the years for people who then put their name on my work. I won't say I should never have done that, it gave me a lot of experience in different genres and helped me learn what I like and what I don't like to write. I will say I should have stopped limiting myself to ghostwriting a long time ago and ventured out of the sweatshop and into the real world. For better or worse, here I am. Writing and taking responsibility for what I write. So I guess you could say I've finally faced my biggest "should have."

Liz A. said...

Valerie, good for you! Sounds like you got the experience you needed.