09 September 2013

It's okay to NOT write every day (says the author who took the summer off)...

There are a lot of good writing and publishing tips on the Internet. I am quite certain I would NOT have found my fabulous writing friends or critique partners or agent or publisher (or completed a single manuscript, for that matter) if I hadn't followed some very good advice discovered on author blogs.

But, sometimes... that advice can make you feel like you're doing it wrong. Like this one: "Write EVERY day. Even if it's only a paragraph. Commit to putting words on the page every single day."

I've read that advice in various forms on numerous blogs. Heck, I've even GIVEN that advice. And when I don't write every day, I feel guilty. A little voice inside my head needles me. "If you were a REAL writer, you'd HAVE to write every day or you'd burst."

But there are times when something else is calling to me more strongly than whatever I'm writing. This summer, the voice of my WIP was drowned out by the activities of my children and summer travel plans. Instead of feeling guilty for neglecting my writing, I decided to enjoy it. I spent a week in Paris with a girlfriend (where I did some research for a book but no actual writing). My daughter and I completely redecorated her room (We shopped! We sewed! We painted!) My son had friends over for a DIY screen printing camp in our garage, attended weekly gatherings of a Dr. Who club, and played stand-up bass in a bluegrass band. I shuttled the kids to camp and dance and lessons and friends' houses and pools. I did a full purge and clean-out of our attic play room, discarding toys my children have long since outgrown, and transforming into more of a hang-out (and rock-out) sort of space. Then I reclaimed my office, which had become a dumping ground for STUFF. (All of the stuff.) 

I even sharpened every pencil in the house (we're talking hundreds) and put them in a giant pencil box. 

Some might call this procrastination (or possibly insanity). For me, it was a form of rest and rejuvenation. And you know what happened? Some of my best writing ideas came while I was completely ignoring my writing. They poked through, waking me at night or coming to the fore while I was brushing my teeth. They came to me after seeing something or meeting someone I wouldn't have seen or met if I'd been home writing. I scribbled them down somewhere so I wouldn't forget them. 

Now... it's time to write. The kids are back in school. My surroundings are in order. And a summer's worth of ideas are bursting forth. I feel certain my writing will be better for the break I took from it. 

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Sharon! So glad to hear the ideas are flowing for you. We really should get back on track as critique partners now that I defended my dissertation! Major hurdle jumped! :)

    Write, write, write!