I’ve been in a writing slump. I’m meeting my deadlines, but only with numerous rewrites. I’m also having trouble connecting with what I write.
I realized why when I lost an assignment. I was mildly bothered by not getting to write for the audience, history hungry teens, but what really upset me was losing the income. Reality: I write for a living, but when that’s all it is, it’s a slog.
Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days arrived. Mari asks readers to consider their motivation for keeping a journal. “Do you want to become a better writer and think keeping a journal will be good practice? Are you looking for a way to learn more about yourself, your past experiences and your current motivations? Do you hope to get yourself out of a rut and find your path or passion in life?”
Find your reason to journal and then move on to the chapters. Each begins with thoughts about that day’s topic followed by a series of exercises. For the first chapter, you make a collage. Before selecting the images, you contemplate why you want to journal.
I knew I wanted to reconnect with my reasons for writing, but, perfectionist that I am, I balked. What if I picked this image instead of that one? Would it be good enough?
Then it hit me—when I second guess my every decision, I tense up. Ever tried to write flowing prose with your shoulders at your ears? Note to self: Focus on the joy of writing. Focus on inspiring your reader. Doing that will make your editor happy.
This was my breakthrough chapter. Yours might be one of the other chapters: journaling for 20 minutes a day; rebutting your inner critic; writer’s block; dealing with too many ideas; finding time to write; and what to do when boredom strikes.
With McCarthy’s encouragement, at the beginning of each work day, I get out my journal. I write about that day’s project, focusing on what about this subject will make a young reader or fellow writer say, “Wow.” With this focus, I’m getting into my writing assignments that much faster. With the confidence this gives me, my voice is stronger than ever.
What obstacles stand in the way of your writing? Whether it’s a writing problem or something else that is sapping your energy, spend some time looking deeper with McCarthy’s Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days. You may find the answers you need even if they aren’t the answers you expected.
Author Sue Bradford Edwards blogs at One Writer's Journey.