Writing Parables – Life lessons that apply to writing
Over the last several days, we have had a wind advisory. The gusts of wind have been over 40 miles per hour and have carried a bitter cold feeling with them. Even the slightest crack of the door brings in a biting frigid air that seeps into your bones until you feel numb and want nothing more than to climb into bed and hide under the covers. Your only goal is to lessen the icy grip of the winter wind.
Many times in your writing journey, you will encounter the same feeling. Things that make you sluggish and wanting to go back to the fun you had when you started the journey. The joyful optimism that you would be the next breakout author, or maybe this time, your family was just going to enjoy the newest piece you wrote. Yet, life stepped in, and your hope died. Sometimes crashing in like lightning, other times creeping in. You didn’t see it coming until it was already here.
Every writer has these moments. In fact, life, in general, will have these moments. Our feelings are whipped up, we are overwhelmed, or we just feel numb. It’s not uncommon; you’re not odd, there is nothing wrong with you or your writing, and most definitely, it does not mean you need to quit. It is something we all deal with and is quite common.
In our lives, we know if we are upset, it doesn’t mean we can stop functioning. You still have to get up, go to school, go to work, cook meals, do bills, wash the laundry, and all those other fun things. I mean, we all know how much I love scrubbing the toilet with a toothbrush… about as much as a root canal!
The thing is, unlike in life, we seem to shrug off the need to keep doing things in our writing. However, that is the worst thing to do for your writing. It is training your brain to shut down when it is even slightly stressed. Instead, we need to sit down and work.
Ok, I hear you; you struggle to be creative when you are feeling emotionally exhausted. Then maybe you need a break from creative writing and should make character profiles instead—age, hair color, tattoos, birthmarks, etc. Maybe you update your bio, do technical work, check your accounting for taxes, etc. Writing a short story or flash fiction can be a nice change of pace. Perhaps it would be a good time to do some beta reading, critiquing or editing.
My point is, there are a lot of good ways to use the skills you have to help you get over this hump without giving up and throwing in the towel, but the more time you spend avoiding work because you don’t feel like it, the harder it will be to come back. Don’t make procrastination a habit. Make work so much of a habit that procrastination makes you sick to your stomach, or at least give it a dirty look when it springs its ugly head up.
I would love to hear about the ways you get through the harder days. Do you edit? Do you have a favorite place to critique? Maybe you have a list of things to do when you can’t write, and you work on that? Whatever the case, I hope you will share it below!