Always Writing and Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links July 17

ocean sky

Go ahead – stare out over the ocean. It’s still writing.

When I sat down to write this post yesterday, I wound up spending a good hour beating myself up because I couldn’t think of anything worth writing. I set the time aside, as I do each week, to come here and write a post; but I ended up just typing and deleting, typing and deleting. I tried four different ideas, but nothing would stick. While I’m not one to rely on the muse, it was clear that I just wasn’t feeling it (whatever “it” is).

 

We all have these days. Part of my problem is that I didn’t, as I typically do, take the time earlier in the week to do preliminary brainstorming and mind mapping for the weekend edition. This means that I came to my desk without a plan – a speed bump, to be sure, but not usually a deal breaker. Despite my lack of preparation, I expected that something would pop into my head. (It usually does.) No such luck.

It has just occurred to me, that the bigger issue at hand is that I’ve let myself get worn out. I’ve been extremely busy with freelance projects for the past couple of months and keeping up has required a sustained level of hustle that’s a bit more intense than I like. It’s no wonder I’m having trouble finding a writing topic! Not only am I physically and intellectually exhausted, I’ve also been running at top speed for so long that I haven’t had any time to think. And, writers need time to think.

Sometimes we need a gentle reminder that some of our most important “writing” time has nothing to do with keyboards or notebooks. When we sit down at the computer or pick up a pen, that moment is the culmination of many hours engaged in the non-writing part of writing. It’s the moment when all the internal work that we’ve been doing – daydreaming, questioning, ruminating – is transformed into words on the page. It is the moment that our work becomes tangible to someone living outside of our heads.

But don’t be fooled. Those words on the page are only the tip of the iceberg. The real work of writing includes everything that brought you to that point where you felt ready (and inspired!) to put those words down. So, don’t beat yourself up for a lack of “inspiration” if you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to do all the work that must come before the words. Slow down. Step back. Give yourself the gift of stillness and solitude and time to think. Breathe for goodness sake!

And then see how creative and inspired you feel. I bet you’ll see a world of difference. Good luck!

_jamie sig

 

 


My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:

CRAFT

PUBLISHING & MARKETING

INSPIRATION

THE WRITING LIFE

··• )o( •··

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin cleese play.jpg

Here’s to giving your creativity some TLC by making time to play. 🙂 
.
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
.

32 thoughts on “Always Writing and Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links July 17

  1. Wish I could stare out at ocean waves: we only have the flat Mediterranean here 🙂 Joking, but yes, it’s hard to put something together last minute after a busy week. My problem is also finding the balance between a post that covers my usual life subjects and a minimum of awareness of the chaos out there … in the real world!

    • I think that the conflict between my inner world and outer world experiences is also a challenge for me, Bea. I struggle with feeling okay about focusing too much on my inner world when there is so much that needs to be addressed in the “real” world. It’s hard to find the points at which those two intersect sometimes. The book I’m currently reading (and which I’ll share next week) has an interesting way of doing this. I think you might like it. 🙂

  2. I agree with what you’re saying. When I hit that point in my writing, I tell my boyfriend that the story needs to cook a little more in my head and at some point, I hear that ‘ding’ and I know it’s done.

    • Exactly! I always say that the pieces I’m not actively writing are “simmering on the back burner of my brain.” 😉
      And there is a ‘ding!’ that we hear, isn’t there? Something just clicks and then you’re racing for pen and paper or keyboard. Almost like magic!

  3. My wife and I drove over to the ocean. We took a long walk on the cliff over looking the Pacific. It was inspiring. Now I just need the time to get all those great ideas on paper.

    The best writing happens far away from computer, pen and paper.

    • “The best writing happens far away from computer, pen and paper.”
      A thousand times yes.
      The more I give myself permission to get out of the house and away from my desk, the more clarity I gain about my story ideas and other writing projects.

      Glad you and your wife got to enjoy what sounds like a beautiful walk. 🙂

  4. Time off is critical. Even a nap helps. Better yet is a walk in the national forest above our property, including the ‘gift of stillness and silence.’ Always good to know we don’t suffer alone in this all too lonely journey, Jamie. Thanks. —Curt.

    • Naps are WONDERFUL. I don’t take nearly enough of them.
      I also agree that time spent in nature is deeply restorative and healing. There is something about losing ourselves in the simultaneously vast and microscopic wonder of the natural world that always seems to give us perspective.

      Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Jamie ❤️ I’m reading away, nodding to myself and staring into space as I do when I read something that hits the mark…when I see that you listed my article as one of your inspiration links! Thank you 😍
    It is SO true that writing is the tip of the iceberg. All that thinking time, journaling, conversation, meditation – all of it transforms into words. Without it, there are no words. We can’t keep drawing from the well without putting back in. So, in that spirit, I hope that your work slows to a manageable level real soon xo

    • You always manage to be both level-headed and inspirational, Sara. I love that about you.

      You’re right, of course – without living and dreaming and thinking and conversing, we won’t find our words and our stories. They are an art unto themselves, but they are also just one way to process and reflect our experiences. Unless we take time to experience life, we have no tales to tell.

      Hoping to replenish the well soon. I will take a little time this weekend & am looking forward to doing my very best to do nothing at all. 😉

  6. Thanks for the serene pic of the boundless ocean -totally a raw material for writing in itself. Writers block is oft conditioned by many factors inclusive of those you also cited i.e. mental and physical exhaustion which are normal with anybody doing brainwork like writing for an audience waiting or expectant to read you. The stress of the writing process is one thing and the conscience of producing something fulfilling or outwardly impacting is another kettle of fish For a typical column writers or poets and full time novelists who set themselves daily target of writing As Jamie rightly said the preliminary processes of finding and prioritizing an appealing topic or theme or of picking the right anecdotes to facilitate wider or more hilarious less serious readership might also warrant rumination by the writer-any writer living on or in love with the written word,John Updike said something akin to what I read in a book,Swedish Writes more than 30 years ago that writing is so glasslike a craft that it takes lots of skills to perfect an easily readable matter.Was it Mark Twain ,an amusing writer that wrote in a forward to an American University program brochure that if I had known I could have learnt under teachers and could have known ten times much more than otherwise.However the only difference between the writer and the non – writer is the written word.

    Gbemisoye Tijani Paul Harris Fellow (a writing captive &someone who modestly allowed the captivity Insofar roaming to all genre of writings is permissible and holistic healing is experienced and Possibly become harmlessly infectious enough by this chains of and joy in its tacit hold by the scruff of the neck) 17/7/16,1101pm

    Sent from my iPad

    • Definitely important to settle on a topic and a theme, and to get there it helps to understand WHY you are writing and WHO you are writing for. Once you understand your reasons for writing, you will be able to define your purpose, and that will provide much clarity and motivation.

      I’m glad you liked the post and the photo of the ocean.

    • I think I sometimes take my proximity to the ocean for granted. It really can be such a source of inspiration. I cannot help but sink into my thoughts when I am gazing out to sea. It draws deeper thoughts out of my usually harried brain and calms me with it’s rhythmic movements and sound. I think, perhaps, I will try to make time for a walk along the shore this weekend.
      😉

  7. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:
    Sometimes we need a gentle reminder that some of our most important “writing” time has nothing to do with keyboards or notebooks. When we sit down at the computer or pick up a pen, that moment is the culmination of many hours engaged in the non-writing part of writing. It’s the moment when all the internal work that we’ve been doing – daydreaming, questioning, ruminating – is transformed into words on the page. It is the moment that our work becomes tangible to someone living outside of our heads.”

  8. Pingback: Sex And The Smartphone. Modern Three-Way | Lady Smut

  9. Thank you for articulating these facts. We do beat ourselves up, sometimes with cause, but frequently, without. Last week I threw in the towel with a monthly writing group that I started, and ran for 7 years. Involving quite a lot of preparation and mentoring on my part. Suddenly I’d had enough. So I said “thanks! it’s been lovely, but now I’m off!” I know perfectly well there are plenty of others who could do the job as well as, and better than, I did, so, as they say in the classics: ‘enough already”. Right now I’m resting, and waiting with anticipation to see what new treasure the Universe will be sending my way ….

    • There are so many instances, Alison, when we let past habits dictate our future. We continue spending time on activities that we have long outgrown. I applaud your pragmatic approach to your own situation – “throwing in the towel,” as you put it, when you realized that you’d had enough and were ready to move on to the next thing. That’s a lesson I still struggle with sometimes. I let myself get roped in by obligations that aren’t really mine; but it’s so important to assess each commitment we make. Time is so precious and we shouldn’t spend it on things that aren’t the right fit.

      I hope the Universe sends you something fabulous. Enjoy the adventure!

    • Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth, and for sharing my post.
      I’m beginning to wonder if the ebbing of ideas is one of the reasons so many people take a social media and/or blogging hiatus in the summertime. I have several blogger friends who simply step away from all online media for 30 days in the summer. I have often thought about participating in such a sabbatical, but haven’t managed to tear myself away. Your post provides some additional incentive, to be sure. Maybe this will be the year …
      😉

      Thanks for being here!

  10. Duuuuude. This has totally happened to me and most of the time I get down on myself as I think I wasn’t focused enough or resilient enough to get past the exhaustion from mom duties or emotional drainage from a relationship battle to begin writing/editing anything that day. Dude! I had completely forgotten about the non-writing part of writing!! I was aware of it a while back, but man! Am I glad I read this post. Thanks so much for helping me feel better about the situation. Great post!

    • I’m so glad this post helped you stop beating yourself up. Writers are ALWAYS writing. Even when we’re sleeping – our dreams continue our stories, right? Sometimes, it’s enough just to sit for a moment and let yourself come into a new awareness about where you are and what you’re doing … because writing is about observing and noticing. Taking note is about training your writer’s mind to see.

      ANYway … good luck juggling mom duties and recovering from relationship battles. Here’s hoping the writing provides you a respite instead of another source of stress. 🙂

  11. Pingback: Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Gather Momentum | Live to Write – Write to Live

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s