25 Apr

bouquet3I’m continuing the discussion from Mary’s blog about finding your own writing path. I follow Nathan Bransford’s blog and, coincidentally, he posted In Order to Write, Writers have to Live, on the same day. The original post was a guest blog on NaNoWriMo, but it serves as a message for all writers all the time.

Nathan’s point is that writers tend to be solitary, shutting out the world and everything else to write. How many of you beat yourselves up when you give up a writing session because you feel like going shopping? Or even sleep in when you’d planned on rising early to get in two hours of writing?

You have to get out and experience the world, observe people and your surroundings. Absorb every bit of information that comes your way, whether it’s watching two octogenarians hold hands while walking down the sidewalk, or seeing a Canadian goose perched on top of the Sonic Drive-In sign while a fellow goose is on the ground squawking at it. You write what you live. Your writing will be better if you live life to the fullest with your friends and family. Stop and smell the variety of flowers!

Do you find yourself playing the guilt trip if you aren’t writing regularly? Or if you put it off to do something else?

As Nathan puts it, “Writing can wait. Living comes first.”


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16 responses to “Living

  1. Judith Keim

    April 25, 2013 at 7:25 AM

    Good post, Janis! I agree, it’s good to get out and see and do and hear and observe. I’ve confessed to being an eavesdropper. That exercise helps to keep my imagination alive as I create short stories in my mind about certain scenes I observe. So fun!

    • Janis McCurry

      April 25, 2013 at 9:10 AM

      One of the things that make me sad is that today’s youth (and many adults) are plugged in and UN-aware of most things around them. They miss out on so much by having earbuds crammed in.

  2. Jennifer

    April 25, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Love, love, love this Janis. For a while there I was really chastising myself for not writing much (aka never!) because I had too many other things going on. I finally decided that it is what it is and I can only do what I can do. When I can write then I will.

  3. Peggy Staggs

    April 25, 2013 at 8:56 AM

    Over the years I’ve forced myself to get out from behind the computer. I did this by getting a part time job, going to Weight Watchers and to coffee with friends once a week–when life and kids permit. When I am out I love to do is watch and listen to people. Otherwise, I’m at home ticking away or working in the garden…alone.
    I try not to, but I do play the guilt game.

  4. Janis McCurry

    April 25, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    It’s like we’re genetically wired to feel guilt. So annoying!

  5. maryvine

    April 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

    I think we also need to consider if we really can do 2 books a year. If you can treat writing like a business then go for those big publishing houses.

    • Janis McCurry

      April 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      Yes. At this point in my life, I can’t imagine not continuing my full-time job. I have to adjust my writing goals to reflect that. I won’t be able to write full-time until I retire. 🙂

  6. stephaniebergets

    April 25, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    This is a great post. I tend to stay in and write, sometimes not leaving the house for days at a time. I’m trying to break that habit. I’ve been getting together with friends and running around with my newly retired husband. You never know where you’re going to find inspiration.

    • Janis McCurry

      April 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM

      You’re right. I keep thinking about that silly Canadian goose. Is it an outcast? Or a leader? Is it female and playing hard to get for the goose on the ground? Or a male showing off. That’s the way my mind starting imagining when I saw it.

  7. Corina Mallory

    April 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    I do feel guilty when I’m not writing regularly, but only when I’m spending the time consuming other people’s art instead, not when I’m out actually DOING things. When I’m living and engaged and experiencing things … I think that’s writing too. Well, not writing, but research 😉 Writers are readers. I think it’s way too easy for most of us to become hermits, locked inside a feedback loop where the only input for our art is our imagination plus other people’s art. And that can’t be healthy for us or our creativity.

  8. Janis McCurry

    April 25, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I used to be afraid to read anything while I was working on a book for fear I’d plagiarize unknowingly. Then, I learned it was impossible unless I copied word-for-word. I relaxed and learn a lot from reading other good writing.

  9. marsharwest

    April 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Ladies, I think “guilt” must be hard-wired into our DNA. If we’re mother’s, too, we’ve got a double serving! We could make a ton of money if we could figure out how to disable that function and then bottle it to sell to others. Mainly, I try to remind myself, to do the best I can, and let the rest go. Way easier said than done. 🙂 Good post, Janis.

  10. Janis McCurry

    April 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Thanks. Write on.

  11. Lynn Mapp

    April 25, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Here, here.

  12. Janis McCurry

    April 26, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    Don’t worry, be happy. That actually may be the key to long-term writing, don’t you think?


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