When Writing Is Hard: 2017 Version

This post of mine came through my FB memories feed last week. I talked about when writing gets hard. Not simply challenging, but “it’s too hard, I can’t do it.” I wrote the following:

“…writing looked like insomnia. I had some great characters lined up and loved them and their stories. My plot was solid enough to get going and had lots of room for good exploration. I had the will to write it, but just… couldn’t. I forced words onto the page like an insomniac squeezes her eyes shut hoping that will force sleep – or words to come.”

I look at that post now and man, I didn’t even know.

On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, I stopped writing.

I didn’t really start again until April of 2017.

And I struggled.

And struggled.

Finally, words trickled out again. I focused on writing that I knew. Characters that I have already loved. Revisions. Re-writes. I tried out NaNoWriMo again.

None of it’s been easy this year, but in the short spurts of good writing, I’ve felt hope in the process return. I’ve clung to the way I feel when I write and knowing that if I can just get myself going on a daily basis again, the words will flow, and my spirit will find ways to keep rejuvenating.

A writer friend shared this article from the Paris Review about why we should continue to write fiction in 2017, this train wreck of a year (broadly, not necessarily always personally, certainly).

“The need to be present, vocal, and accounted for as citizens is especially obvious in 2017. The moment demands constant vigilance and participation—and the idea of turning inward, even briefly, can feel shameful.”

I know I have not been alone in this. I’ve seen lots of posts throughout the year from writers who have struggled as I’ve done.

When I consider how valuable reading has been for me though, I remember why fiction is so important still. It’s an escape. It’s a message. It’s joy. It’s a call to action. It’s a “what if?” It’s a window into making sense of the world around us.

Writing, and the result of writing, is restorative. Fiction is what has kept me sane. I wish I had worked harder to write more this past year, knowing its power. I hope I remember this moving forward, because honestly, I don’t see much external change in the horizon. It’s all gotta come from me.

I have some Great Things in the works. My one word resolution this past year was commit. And I did. I’m proud of the efforts I put into various areas of my life where I needed to focus more on this choice to commit. The year’s not done! I’m committed to making the Great Things — Writing Things – come to fruition.

How has 2017 been for you? For your writing? How have you worked to overcome the challenges?

“It’s time to wake up from this
Yes it’s time to wake up from this
It’s time to make up for it”

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One Response to When Writing Is Hard: 2017 Version

  1. Steph says:

    2017 has been a lot of a nightmare for me too. Lots of things hit me much harder than I really expected and it took me a long time to get out from under the weight of just existing at this time in our current state of things. I did a bit of writing this year, and I too loved the way it felt, but was also so stressed and exhausted that it was hard to make it a regular practice.

    I loved the word of the year idea you suggested last year. Mine was breathe. And I did eventually embrace that one. 🙂 Looking for another word for next year to really push me further in my work and home life. Maybe “creativity” will be this year’s word…

    Liked by 1 person

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