The Way Back

Thursday, December 13, 2018
Dorothy Parker once said, “I hate writing, I love having written.”

Never has this quotation more resonated with me than right now. I’ve been on a bit of a writing hiatus lately, lacking motivation and wrestling with ambivalent feelings about the art of writing. So when I saw this quotation while scrolling through my Twitter feed, it gave me hope knowing I’m not alone. It also inspired me to think about why I’ve avoided writing and how to get back on track.

Dorothy Parker was spot-on in her observations. When I look back on what I’ve written, I’m usually very happy with it. I love that I've created characters and scenes which are poignant or happy or downright scary as hell. But first I have to find time - or make time. Then I have to get my head in the right place. Then I notice I haven’t done the dishes and I get up to clean so I can be ready to devote time to writing . . . and somehow never make it back to my laptop.

Other times, though, my avoidance is intentional. Writing is work. Writing takes time. Writing is hard. Until recently, I couldn’t come up with original ideas. I struggled to write even a paragraph. My creativity had stagnated.

But then, someone suggested I start writing in a journal to get my thoughts and feelings out. So I did. At first I had to force myself to do it, but as I journaled every day, I found a routine. There is less pressure. Sometimes I write a lot, and sometimes I don’t. I don’t concern myself with structure or grammar or quality, which is very freeing.

And in so doing, I’ve found my writing groove again. I may not be writing novels right now. It isn’t the type of writing I can publish, or share with anyone, really. But I am writing which, I believe, is the first step to falling in love with the writing process again.

So if you’ve lost your writing way, give journaling a try. It might help you find your way back.

Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.


Sonal Jain said...
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Angela Mackintosh said...

Hi Beth ~ I can relate! I've struggled with writer's block for many years, and the blocks are always mental...the inner critic that says why bother writing when my writing isn't as good as authors I admire, or perfectionism when it comes to putting a piece out in the world and not thinking it's ready. Journaling is a GREAT way to combat those blocks. I'm glad you're finding your writing groove again and you're doing it for your own benefit. And you never know...those journal entries could be fodder for a story or essay. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Beth--Do you know the book "The Writer's Way"by Cameron? I have friends who swear by it, and there is a thing called "The Morning Papers" (I think that's what Cameron called it, which is similar to journaling/daily writing.

And Angela's right. Those journal entries could inspire a blog post, a short story or a novel...

Marcia Peterson said...

Journaling has saved me time and time again. It can be fun, it can be therapy, it can be art. And yes, some of it can be seeds for future writing, but doing it "just because" is good too.

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