Wednesday, February 04, 2015

IWSG: Writing and Worrying Are Two Different Things

I forgot to add the badge and link to the Insecure Writers' Support Group to this post last night. Now I'm officially signed up!

As a working parent, I already have a lot of day-to-day tasks to juggle, along with occasional (well, maybe not so occasional) mini-crises and long-term worries about what the world will be like when my son is of age and I'm a crotchety geezerette. One thing I don't want to worry about, however, is my writing.

Reading and writing books is my escape from my ordinary world, my personal time. Writing can be draining, especially if you're sacrificing sleep to fit it in, but it also provides spiritual sustenance you can't always get from daily life. It should be a source of pleasure, even joy and accomplishment and control, not a source of worry or other negative feelings.

This doesn't mean that I'm free of worry when it comes to writing or my writing career. When I'm unable to write and am in the middle of some mindless task, I might wonder if I should do something different with my work-in-progess. I might worry if I'll ever be prolific or popular enough to make a decent living from my work. But I have to ignore those concerns when it's time to write. I need to get inside the mind of my current POV character, and I can't do that if I give him or her my own problems. I don't have a specific technique for doing this, but I think training myself to write at certain times of the day helps put me in the right mindset.

No matter where you are on your writing journey, you will always find something to worry about--if you focus on that. Focus instead on your story and the joy of sharing it with the world. You can always worry about revisions or marketing when you reach the right stage of your work.

Now if you'll excuse me, it's past time for me to write.

17 comments:

Pat Dilloway said...

If I'm having an otherwise crummy day sometimes it's nice to get writing because then you only have to worry about someone else's problems.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Can't give your character your own problems - no, you can't.
When I'm writing, I have a set time, which means I make it happen no matter what.

Sandra Almazan said...

Pat--no matter how tough you have it, your character has it worse, right?

Alex, yes, it's important to make writing happen.

Eliza March said...

Thanks for the wise advice 😄
I'm going to go write now.

Jay Noel said...

I live a high-stress life, unfortunately, and writing is a great escape. Many days, however, the tank is too empty to write. Reading is my go-to when I'm that exhausted and stressed.

fairyhedgehog said...

Reading is a great escape for me but I never thought of writing that way.

Interesting.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I find chocolate of any kind works wonders on those not-so-great-days. Otherwise writing is a close 2nd. Reading is a great reliever. Losing oneself in a story, no greater pleasure. Except maybe for chocolate ice-cream. Happy IWSG, Sandra. I'm #63.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I find chocolate of any kind works wonders on those not-so-great-days. Otherwise writing is a close 2nd. Reading is a great reliever. Losing oneself in a story, no greater pleasure. Except maybe for chocolate ice-cream. Happy IWSG, Sandra. I'm #63.

M Pax said...

I hear you, I'm so much happier when writing. Making a living as a writer is tough, so focus on what you love. The rest will come in time.

Sandra Almazan said...

Eliza, writing is always good!

Jay, reading is a good way to refill the tank.

Fairyhedgehog, anything you love can be an escape.

Joylene, chocolate is great, but reading doesn't have calories.

M Pax, yes, making a living as a writer is tough, so you have to love writing to pursue it.

Andrew Leon said...

I have frequently been accused of not worrying enough and not worrying about enough things, but I look at it like this:
If it's something I can affect, why worry about it? Just change it.
If it's something I have no control over, worrying won't help, so why bother worrying about it?

Jenni Enzor said...

I think the reason writing is such a stress relief for me too is that it allows me to enter someone else's world for awhile. I may have problems, but they're never as bad as my characters.
I'm encouraged by how you make your writing a priority despite the demands of regular life.

Sandra Almazan said...

Sounds like a good philosophy to me, Andrew!

Jenni, if I didn't make writing a priority, it would never get done.

Donna McDine said...

Great advice... "Focus instead on your story and the joy of sharing it with the world." I'm posting this at my computer!

Sharon M. Himsl said...

I'm trying hard to focus on my writing and keep to a schedule. There's always stuff to worry about if you allow it. And it's true... Sharing a story you believe in is a joy!

Sandra Almazan said...

I'm glad I could inspire you, Donna!

Sharon, schedules do help you write consistently.

Nick Wilford said...

It can be hard to let go of worries about whether it's good enough, or who would want to read it, while we're writing, but for the sake of our story we need to let go of it. Outside worries could mean lacklustre writing, so more to worry about (editing), and it'll become a vicious cycle! You make a great point about the fact it should be an enjoyable release. Let's focus on that.

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