Most of us can agree that writing is not usually as simple as having an idea and “writing it down.” While inspiration does occasionally flow freely, most writers I’ve talked to believe that producing consistent writing takes determination and a lot of self-reflection. Writing can be tough and feel like a struggle some of the time, which is why I want share some of the lessons I have learned during my personal writing journey.
1. Writing is a Necessary Part of My Life
Chances are, if you are reading this, then writing is a necessary part of your life as well. This adage seems simple enough, but you may be surprised to know how long I have spent trying to fight this little fact.
While I have loved to write since I was a kid, as I have grown older, writing (for a period of time) was less of a fun activity than a daunting obstacle. I knew I enjoyed writing, but I could never seem to find the time or the motivation to sit and write. I put my writing aside and focused on my “real” job. I focused on my other hobbies that made me less reclusive. But time after time, I found myself itching to write the story ideas that never stopped popping into my head.
After enough time, I decided to relent and accept that my desire to write was not going anywhere, and I had better make time for it.
2. Life Tries to Get in the Way of Writing
That being said, life likes to present lots of surprises no matter how determined you are to write. I had to learn, too, that I am never going to be able to control life’s tendency to throw problems, or even just obligations, at me.
It took me a long time to understand that life was never going to put itself on hold and give me that perfect week off from work to write. I was never going to have that dream home in the woods away from everybody to focus on my writing (I also realized I didn’t actually want to live in a cabin away from everyone else). Instead, I have learned to work writing into the other parts of my life.
For example, I recently made a commitment to publish two blog posts a week here on Paper Crow. Seemingly just after I made that commitment to myself, I found myself on the road for a camping trip I’d had planned with friends for months. I realized I had not completed the blog post for that day. Instead of brushing off the post, I finished it in the car from the passenger seat and posted it. That way, I kept commitments to both myself and my friends.
3. Writing is a Test of Self-Discipline and Organizational Skills
If you have been following my blog, you will know that I have recently been working on expanding my writing portfolio (you can read the post here: Steps I am Taking to Develop My Writing Portfolio). In order to do this, I have been seeking out opportunities to write posts for various publications. And guess what? I found opportunities!
I’m grateful and excited to have these venues for writing publicly. Because I suddenly have several more writing tasks on my plate, I have learned that I must have an organizational tool.
My go-to tool is my planner, and I have had to really take the initiative to write down everything I need to do in order to stay on top of all my commitments. Just today, I was working on a color-coordinated scheme to keep my calendar straight. I can now breathe a little better being able to visualize my upcoming calendar.
4. Writing is Powerful
I once attended a poetry slam where several local poets read their work aloud for the audience. To my surprise, I was most affected by the poem performed by a middle-aged man. His poem discussed how he cared for his partner and her children, and I found myself bawling at his words while I sat in the crowd of listeners.
Non-fiction is of course an extremely powerful form of writing. I have also had to learn that writing about my own experiences can be rewarding but also emotionally difficult. I have had to learn that non-fiction can stir up the past in surprising ways, and it is advisable to be prepared for unintended consequences when you publish non-fiction.
5. My Writing Won’t Happen Unless I Make It Happen
My words are never going to magically form on the computer screen or in the pages of my notebook. I can have a dozen great ideas for a story, but they do me no good unless I take the time to write them down coherently and organize them into an actual story, post, or essay.
I’ve learned writing is not always easy. Some days the words seem to keep coming, but often, the words get stuck somewhere between my brain and the keyboard. On those particular days, I feel like my writing is quite possibly the worst in the entire world. The entire galaxy. I have even cringed at what I’ve written, despite no one being around.
However, it is true what so many others say. The supposedly worst bit of writing is still better than no writing at all. You can’t improve something that doesn’t exist, so relax enough to get something down and then you’ll be able to edit from there.
I hope these lessons will help you in your own writing journey. Please leave a comment if you have any more tips to share with readers!