Tag Archives: commitment

The writing journey

Writing is a journey, not a race. There is no going from A to B in a straight line. There is no short cut. And this can be frustrating for writers or even off putting if they misunderstand the nature of the writing journey. But if you realise and embrace its true nature, it becomes enjoyable. You could compare it to running. No two bodies are the same. And it takes time, commitment, discipline and small steps. If you do too much too soon you are likely to get injured. If you do too little, you won’t progress. If you don’t listen to your body, you might actually do something that will compromise your journey.

Writing is a bit the same. If you start fast and furious, you might get something on paper (and in theory there is nothing wrong with that) but you might then be faced with material that you are not happy with. Or you may get discouraged if you can’t keep it up and give up when you hit the first obstacle.

You cannot force it, yet you must have discipline and practice regularly. You must explore what others have done but ultimately do what works for you. Some like to write in the morning, some in the wee hours of the night. Some write from home. Others like to write in caf├ęs. Some like to write by hand in big notebooks. Others prefer the computer. Not to mention that some like to write poetry, others short stories. And so on. You have to find what works for you. But again. What works for you might change and evolve over time and you need to know this so that you don’t get panicky if what has worked for you up to now, doesn’t work anymore.

And you must have the wisdom to take breaks or change your pace when your life demands it, or you will burn out. Did you know for example that it is not possible to write more than three hours a day and stay productive?

I have experienced set backs both in my running and writing journeys. They are not really set backs but things that come in the way, but they need to be embraced as part of the journey. If you approach writing like a race, however, these meanderings will frustrate you. Everything that happens in the life of a writer informs his or her writing. Life is part of the writing journey. You night have to shelve a project and start a new one. And that’s ok.

What you write needs to rest between writing sessions. You need to sleep on it. Whilst you do that and get on with your life, you continue writing in your head but from a different part of your brain: the unconscious. It’s the same as trying to resolve a problem. You do research. You gather all the pros and cons and how other people have resolved the issue. Ultimately, you are likely to find a solution whilst having your shower in the morning three days later, after when you unconscious has been mulling over it without you realising it and come up with the perfect solution.

And when you finish a piece, you might have to let it rest for weeks to gain enough perspective to get back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. This is the nature of the work.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere

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Excuse number 1: I don’t have the time

This is going to be one of the topics we will be discussing in my workshop: time.

Not having the time to do something is always a question of motivation. Let me give you an example. When my daughter started wearing braces, she had been told clearly how important it was for her to brush her teeth as the braces create extra areas where plaque can build and she impressed me by how dedicated she was. Eighteen months down the line, however motivation dropped. We went for a routine appointment and the dentist said she wasn’t cutting it. An appointment with the hygienist was made and the hygienist explained to her what would happen if she continued to be complacent about brushing her teeth and that the damage would be irreversible. Her motivation was rekindled immediately although as most of us do, she first tried to undermine the hygienist arguments (not in front of her but in the car journey home) and tried to convince me why the hygienist was wrong.

We are all guilty of becoming complacent. And the excuse of not having the time is in reality an issue of motivation. If we have a clear goal or commitment, we always make the time.

To give you another example: I wanted to enter a competition for a short film. It was the holidays and my house was full of kids. I have four. I had no idea how I would find the time to write a short film. But I am a very competitive person and really wanted to enter that competition and of course there was a deadline. So I made time. Don’t even ask me how I did. I don’t even know myself.

So I encourage you to set a goal.

And once you are committed, scrutinise your daily habits. When do you waste time? When do you have “dead” time? Is it on your way to work? Is it whilst dinner is cooking? Do you spend a lot of time on Facebook? Ot watching you tube video clips? Or it could be that you need to learn to say no. And this is something we will be discussing in my next blog.

If your motivation and commitment levels are right, believe me you will find time.

To your creativity

Ange de Lumiere