Monday, June 10, 2019

Does Writing Have to Be Your Top Priority to Be Successful?

One of the top pieces of writing advice that seems to crop up time and time again is that if you want to be good at writing, if you're going to get that novel finished, and if you desire satisfaction and success then you need to write. It may seem pretty obvious, but often, it can be easy for writers to struggle with the one thing that needs to happen to get anywhere at all.
Now the second piece of advice that goes hand in hand with this is that if we want to make sure we write, we need to make sure that writing is a top priority in our lives.
But is this true? Does it take massive sacrifices of time, money, and our relationships to ensure that we stay on top of our writing game? Is it possible to complete a novel while keeping up other hobbies and social engagements at the same time?
There seems to be a perpetuating myth that writers need to be writers first and foremost, and it seems unfathomable that a writer could possibly have interests, commitments, and dare I say, even other priorities that come before their writing. But writers are many things. They are husbands and wives; they are parents, they are homemakers, chefs, golf and knitting enthusiasts, they like to go out for walks, for dinner, to dance.
Sometimes writers are made to feel guilty if they'd rather have a night on the town or a movie night at home and their writing takes a hit because of it. It's all 'well you can't possibly call yourself a writer,' or you clearly aren't 'committed' enough to your writing or 'passionate' enough about it if you don't spend every waking minute dedicated to your craft. If you'd, I don't know, rather hang out with your kids of an afternoon then lock yourself away in your tiny windowless office for five hours ignoring their chubby little hands banging on the door imploring you to come outside then you're not a real writer at all.
But perhaps there can be a happy medium. It's essential to make time for your writing, of course it is. It's important to write regularly and frequently if you want to make steady progress and stay in the writing 'zone.' However, just because you don't get up at 5 am to do it, or sometimes make choices to do other things it doesn't mean that you aren't a writer or that you don't deserve writing success, should it come your way.
It is not so much about how you decide to prioritize your writing, but how to ensure that you are totally focused and productive when you do decide to write. Also that you are making enough time for it so that you feel comfortable with the pace you are going at so that you are in line with your writing goals, and above all else so that you enjoy writing and all the other things that are going on in your life as well!
If you can do that, if you can make writing as much of a priority as fits in with your busy, lovely, demanding life, then you are far more likely to commit to it, to stick with it and to take pleasure in it. This will be all the more rewarding and satisfying when you do come to an end, not burnt out and sick and with no friends and fractured family relationships, but feeling positive, happy and fulfilled with your proud loved ones by your side.

Upon seeing this piece, I began to feel like I wasn't doing enough writing lately. So I have tried to do some brief writing at night, just to have some done. I will be having my class at work each Monday this month because the mentor who was doing the meditation class that altered week with my class has decided not to do hers anymore (she will be planning a new class to start in July). So I will be getting some writing done that way. Last week, we did retellings of tales and those who participated came up with some very good retellings. These included Frankenstein being told from the monster's viewpoint and several different retellings of Cinderella from other characters' POVs, as well as one from the character herself in the first person. Later on that same week, I tried doing some of these on my own at home, albeit brief ones, but it's something and perhaps some of them can be expanded on later. One thing I wrote was The Three Bears told by the bears themselves. 
Do any of you ever find yourself going back and forth between writing that you are working on? Just yesterday, I found myself working on my diary novel yet again. I had found some things I wanted to change and discovered a few typos. I didn't get through all of it yesterday, but plan to do more the rest of the week. I think that is what I'll try to concentrate on for the time coming up. I still haven't added to the sequel yet and am taking  break from the dictated story I began last month. The dictated story is a reference to an event that occurred 10 years ago this month (more on that to come).  
I especially want to try to do more work like this since the local writers' lab will out for the summer. My class at work will be one way and now I'm going to try do as much as I can each week. Often I find myself doing no writing at all, and begin to feel a little guilty, but decided I can go without it for a day.  I tend to get tired in the hot weather and it's starting again where I live. But I'll do my best to active in this weather, taking a break when too tired.


Elephant's Child said...

We all need balance. I am pretty certain that everything else that a writer sees, hears, feels and experiences is 'grist for their mill'.

Sandra Cox said...

Balancing life and writing can sometimes be challenging.