Writing is Not for the Meek

When I tell someone I’m a writer, the response is often: “I’m going to write a book some day when I retire from my real job.” I know you’ve heard this, too. It used to offend me, but now, I smirk internally and respond with: “Good for you.” It takes too much of my creative energy to tell them what I’m really thinking. And I’ve learned that talking writing with non-writers is like talking politics. No one wins. 

We write for many reasons, but we each need to find what drives us. To be published? To see our name on the cover of a book? To inspire someone with our story? The writer’s universal answer is because I have to. To a non-writer, this wouldn’t make sense. But a writer understands we feel less than whole when we’re not writing. It’s like a piece of us is floating outside our body and we’re constantly trying to grab hold of it. The only way to really capture it is to write.

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, recommends writing morning pages, three pages of stream of conscience writing, to start your day. It clears the fog and all of those inconsequential thoughts that float around in the brain and distract. When I write my morning pages, my entire day goes better, so why don’t I do them every day? Good question, for which I have no answer.

The one true thing I know is that taking the safe route may seem easier, but in the end, it eats away the soul. Being true to who we are as writers, discovering that place of honesty within us will give us the drive we need to keep traveling the path. Getting caught up in the outer trappings of “being a writer” will lead us away from our true path of writing of writing from the heart.

To write well, we must express ourselves clearly and risk rejection—Ralph Keyes

The great writers have dealt with rejection. But they believed in their message and they kept pushing. We may not create the great blockbuster, like J.K. Rowling or Delia Owens, but we will send a message that connects to readers. Keep the faith. With this thought in mind, write from your heart, not what that elusive editor on your shoulders is saying to you. Swat him away and dig deep. 

I have a stuffed rabbit in a basket hanging from my wall. He represents my internal editor. When my internal editor starts sending doubts to my brain, I remove him from the basket and place him face down on a table. It is then I can let my heart lead me back to the story. Do you have an action to silence your internal editor? If so, I would love to hear it.

Until next week, may your heart lead your writing!

Text Box: Craft books:
The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes

Non-Fiction:
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

4 thoughts on “Writing is Not for the Meek

  1. Good points, Anne–writers can be a bundle of contradictions. We write because we have to, but then usually anxiously talk to each other about why we can’t or don’t write. Most of it’s fear, I think. No one likes rejection, but it’s part of the process, although we don’t get used to it. We accept it, sort of, but it’s never fun.

  2. You must have written your morning pages today, because I love your description of how a writer feels when they are not writing. Beautiful!

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