Writing is Hard

I was in a meeting yesterday which started with an icebreaker question: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Several people referenced healthier lifestyles, a couple of people wanted to be taller, one person thought all they needed was more modesty.

I said that I would want the physical act of writing to be easier. I would certainly love more creativity, but at a more basic level I get bored quickly by writing. This is the main reason why I don’t keep a journal; over the years I’ve tried to jot down my thoughts daily, but I lose interest/motivation too quickly. Also I find that I get frustrated that my hand or fingers (depending on whether or not I’m writing or typing) can’t keep up with the thoughts in my head, and then the written words don’t seem to come out exactly as I first imagined them, and then I think “why bother?”

In my job I write a lot. Sometimes it flows easily, other times I have the same message in Drafts for days or weeks because it’s not perfect. Sometimes the less I think about the topic the better, other times I have to be so deliberate it becomes an obsessive exercise in precision. Maybe I try too hard but I have too much respect for the written word not to get it right.

I read recently (in another blog) that creativity flows best in the morning, and that you shouldn’t get sucked into the routine of the day before pouring some time into your own passions. I have been blogging in the morning but was feeling a little guilty when it took away time for prayer or study, but if this desire to write, and the ability that goes with it, are gifts from God then why should I worry about when I use them? If this is a God-honoring pursuit He’s probably a lot less worried about it then I am.

Since we’re giving ourselves better attributes, can I also have the power to keep my coffee from cooling off so fast while writing?

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One thought on “Writing is Hard

  1. I love to write short stories. One of my biggest challenges is finding a way to express myself without feeling like I’ve revealed too much or strayed off topic. I am a highly emotional person, and that comes through in my stories. Every story ended up being about how I was feeling at the moment, which left me feeling exposed and vulnerable. I needed a way to keep my emotions in check, and not allow them to run all over the page.

    I found help by treating my writing like an exercise. For example, I might tell myself to write 50 short stories that are exactly 50 words in length, and each story must relate to my mother. This structure made it easier to write what I wanted, because I was so focused on the parameters of the exercise. I learned to control my emotions and access them when I needed them, without letting them be my muse.

    I once did a thought awareness exercise where I spent 5 minutes trying to write down every thought in my head. The rules stated that if you were typing out one thought and another one popped in to your head, you had to move on. It was harder than I expected. I had no idea how many thoughts were constantly running through my head. Most of them did not end up being worthy topics for a story, but it was amusing to read over them after the 5 minutes were over.

    Oh, and as far as translating thought from brain to paper, try jotting it down as soon as you have it or even use a tape recorder. I think most smart phones have a “voice memo” feature. 🙂

    Good luck! ~Kelly

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