I sent this post out to my list on Valentine’s Day but you can romance your writing all year long!
Happy Valentine’s Day, Your Writerly Highnesses!
May this day remind you of the many ways in which you can show your love. Not just in the romantically high-profile ways like giving flowers to your sweetheart, but also in the less heralded ones like extending a friendly hello to a stranger on the street, going out of your way to open a door for someone struggling with groceries…or taking two hours out of your busy day and spending it on a writing project that’s close to your heart.
Our writing projects need our love too!
When we have a longstanding relationship with our writing, as many of us do, we can take it for granted. It can become a chore, an item on a to-do list – or even worse, a source of quiet torment because we haven’t been able to get to it lately.
Here are four romantic gestures to dissolve the dreary and rekindle the spark between you and your writing.
1. Plan a date night, if you’re a night owl – or a date morning, if you’re a lark. I was busy all last week with editing work for clients, and so to ease my writerly heart, I made a plan to devote the first two hours of my Saturday to my memoir project. An act of love that not only soothed my soul, it was also fun!
2. Yes! Write for the fun of it! Being a dutiful sort, I have to remind myself to have fun with my writing. (Sad but true.) Deciding that having fun was the only requirement made for a delightful morning. And inevitably, that have-some-fun! attitude opened doors to great solutions to writing issues that had been dogging me for months.
3. Take your writing on a retreat. Dedicating time just for your writing project with no other distractions is delicious. I’m lucky enough to be part of a group of writers who periodically gather in a secluded setting – a retreat centre, a group of holiday cabins in the off-season, or even someone’s home if our numbers are low and other family members are away. We devote our days to writing on individual projects with very little interaction among us. Then we reward ourselves with a great meal (we take turns cooking dinner) and an evening of revelry! I just booked myself and my memoir into a weeklong retreat this coming April. Can’t wait!
4. Share your writing. This seems obvious, but we generally don’t write strictly for our own amusement. It’s important to find out how our words affect people. There’s little more rewarding than evoking an unexpected positive emotional response to something we’ve written. It fuels our desire to keep going. But even if the response is negative, it’s so helpful to find out how we can improve (assuming the reader is someone you trust as opposed to someone whom you know won’t support you). Finding your voice as a writer does not happen in a vacuum. Austin Kleon, author of Share Your Work, says it well: “I realize that the only way to find your voice is to use it. It’s hardwired, built into you. Talk about the things you love. Your voice will follow.”
Paying attention to our writing by using our voice, by giving it our time, or by writing in community, blesses us in the best possible way – with that deep, heartfelt peace and contentment that comes from doing something we were born to do.