Temporary Writer’s Block aside (what I consider temporary is when you aren’t sure where a story is going, grasping around for the next scene, wondering if this story is good enough, stumped on editorial fixes, etc.) – a writer cannot afford to stop writing. There is no reason good enough to stop writing.
THERE IS NO REASON GOOD ENOUGH TO STOP WRITING!
I am not kidding.
Temporarily having to ease up on a demanding writing schedule because of illness, family emergencies, or necessities of life is perfectly understandable and acceptable. But… that’s only easing up – writing still continues in random moments and shortened time blocks. Whatever you have going on in your life – writing must continue.
WRITING MUST CONTINUE!
Because when you stop writing your writing muscle atrophies. (The root of atrophy is traced back to the Greek for “lack of food.”) If you don’t feed your writing muscles – they weaken and eventually die from not being used.
If you’ve ever had an injury or illness that restricted your normal activities for any length of time, you may be well-acquainted with muscle atrophy. And you would also be familiar with the extra time and effort it takes to get your muscles back to normal – not to mention improving them! Writing muscles are no different. Atrophied writing muscles can be fatal to creativity if ignored.
ATROPHIED WRITING MUSCLES CAN BE FATAL TO CREATIVITY IF IGNORED!
Some causes of writing muscle atrophy…
– continual negative responses to queries
– rewrites that don’t work
– marketing doesn’t get behind your book
– option book isn’t picked up
– agent doesn’t like newest manuscript
– reviews are bad
– sales are poor
The list goes on. But, none of these circumstances should cause a writer to stop writing. A writer writes no matter what.
A WRITER WRITES NO MATTER WHAT!
Discouragement and disappointment are rife in the business of publishing. Things don’t always happen the way a writer would like; maybe even rarely happen the way a writer dares to hope. However, if you let that get you down, you’re doomed to the abyss. The black hole of not writing kills creativity faster than anything.
NOT WRITING KILLS CREATIVITY FASTER THAN ANYTHING!
I know this for a fact. I’ve seen it in others and I’ve fallen prey to it myself. When you don’t write, creativity weakens. When you don’t write, your imagination wanes. When you don’t write, commonplace and hackneyed creep into your thinking and steal away even more of your creative strength. There is only one cure – writing.
THERE IS ONLY ONE CURE FOR ATROPHIED CREATIVITY – WRITING!
But, you might protest, it’s hard! Everything I’m writing IS commonplace and hackneyed. Everything I write is crap!
Well, dear writer… it probably is.
But, guess what? Use the writing muscle and watch it improve! If you’ve suffered an injury that required physical therapy, you know that the first visits to a physical therapist can be painful and humbling. Your muscles refuse to cooperate and your movement is limited. However, doing those (what may seem like silly or ineffectual) exercises begin to build muscle strength. As you progress, the exercises get harder, the muscles regenerate and soon you are moving with as much (if not more) ease than before.
This is true with writing, too. The more you exercise your creative writing muscles, the stronger and healthier they become.
THE MORE YOU EXERCISE YOUR CREATIVE WRITING MUSCLES, THE STRONGER AND HEALTHIER THEY BECOME!
I went through an atrophied creative period due to some writerly disappointments. One day as I was cleaning and putting to rights my office, I came across folders and notebooks overflowing with poetry, novel ideas, screenplays, even a non-fiction book I’d outlined. Wow! This creative treasure trove happened because I was writing! My time in the Writer’s Abyss happened because I wasn’t writing. I realized writers must write, all the time.
WRITERS MUST WRITE, ALL THE TIME!
Are your creative muscles atrophying? Well, STOP THAT! GET BUSY! Take a class. Write a poem. Do writing exercises. Write letters. Blog. Whatever you do, get out of the abyss! Your creative writing life depends on it!