In a recent essay on the Brevity blog, “Wild Thing: On Writing and Not Writing,” writer Andrea Jarrell explores several important issues in the writing life. First, she talks about the physical stamina needed for writing. As a full-time freelance writer and a creative writer on the side, Jarrell said it took her several years to build up to the hours of sitting and pounding out her work.
First, she talks about the physical stamina needed for writing. As a full-time freelance writer and a creative writer on the side, Jarrell said it took her several years to build up to the hours of sitting and pounding out her work.
What about you? Have you considered the physical toll writing takes on you? How do you fight the knotted muscles between your shoulder blades? How often do you need to step away from the laptop? Do you find, like me, that your eyes grow weary after starting too long at the screen? In On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts, Ann Kroeker and I talk about taking breaks from your writing to engage in wordless activities. This is as much for mind as your body. What wordless activities could you implement today?
But Jarrell talks about another important issue, too: the need to integrate our writing into all the other things we do in life. One tugs against the other. We want to write, but instead we work or cook dinner or run errands. For Jarell, her work also is writing, and like her, I find my freelance client work competing for my physical and mental energy against the creative writing goals I have.
What about you? Do you feel like your writing life is always competing for attention but you can never give it enough? Ann and I talk about this in On Being a Writer, as well. We would like to find that ideal balance, or maybe we are waiting for the ideal time to begin writing in earnest. We are waiting for that time when there is nothing competing with our writing. If you are waiting for that day to come, you will likely never be a writer. Instead, how can you arrange your time, your space, your schedule, or maybe your family’s expectations to allow yourself time to write?
Want to think more about issues related to your writing life? Read Jarrell’s essay. And drop me a line when you do. I’d love to hear your thoughts.