Saturday, September 19, 2015

[Link] Writing Begins With Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong


by Daniel José Older

Writing advice blogs say it. Your favorite writers say it. MFA programs say it.

Write every single day.

It’s one of the most common pieces of writing advice and it’s wildly off base. I get it: The idea is to stay on your grind no matter what, don’t get discouraged, don’t slow down even when the muse isn’t cooperating and non-writing life tugs at your sleeve. In this convoluted, simplified version of the truly complex nature of creativity, missing a day is tantamount to giving up, the gateway drug to joining the masses of non-writing slouches.

Nonsense.

Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.

Every writer has their rhythm. It seems basic, but clearly it must be said: There is no one way. Finding our path through the complex landscape of craft, process, and different versions of success is a deeply personal, often painful journey. It is a very real example of making the road by walking. Mentors and fellow travelers can point you towards new possibilities, challenge you and expand your imagination, but no one can tell you how to manage your writing process. I’ve been writing steadily since 2009 and I’m still figuring mine out. I probably will be for the rest of my life. It’s a growing, organic, frustrating, inspiring, messy adventure, and it’s all mine.

Two years ago, while I was finishing Half-Resurrection Blues and Shadowshaper, I was also in grad school, editing Long Hidden, working full time on a 911 ambulance, and teaching a group of teenage girls. And those are the things that go easily on paper. I was also being a boyfriend, son, friend, god brother, mentor, and living, breathing, loving, healing human being. None of which can be simply given up because I’d taken on the responsibility of writing.

You can be damn sure I wasn’t writing every day.

Continue reading: http://sevenscribes.com/writing-begins-with-forgiveness-why-one-of-the-most-common-pieces-of-writing-advice-is-wrong/