Sunday, July 17, 2016

When you're frustrated with writing

Writing is tough. Anyone who thinks writers just sit down and start writing has never done it. (Unless, of course, it happened in a moment of inspiration. Moments of inspiration are awesome, but never daily.) Naturally, I wish inspiration were a frequent occurrence, but truthfully, it more often resembles spotting a shooting star: it's brief and unexpected. Writing may involve inspiration, but it is sustained by W.O.R.K.

My biggest frustration lately hasn't been a lack of inspiration, but rather expectations. I had expected to be writing and revising picture books. However, that hasn't happened in over a year. Wowza. That stinks. I don't like admitting that. I'm not where I wanted to be at this point, and I'm not writing what I wanted to write.

However, I am writing. I write what I don't necessarily want to write about: grief. It would appear the saying, "Write what you know" is applicable. I wish it were different, but it is what it is. I can't count how many times I've been tempted to scratch my whole grief blog only to be contacted by someone saying they are so thankful for it and how it's helped them. And that happens every time. I am floored by the number of grief moms I've met through my blog, many from other countries.

Writing isn't easy, and writing about grief is not a particularly uplifting subject. It is heavy and necessitates vulnerability. It requires writing when emotions are oftentimes overwhelming. Yet writing honestly is what connects with so many. It is the honest writing of other writers that I myself appreciate.

However, there are seasons to both life and writing. I think perhaps realizing this is where I finally gave up the struggle and embraced the season. I'm not going to guilt myself any longer on what I'm writing (or not writing). I can be reassured that my picture book manuscripts will get finished, but for now, I am called elsewhere. There's no guilt in that, for wherever and whatever I'm writing, I have the same purpose: to write well.

Additionally, when whatever I'm writing gets too frustrating, I know I can always take a break and focus on something else, something completely different. That's the joy of writing. Flexibility is a good thing. (Even if I fight it much of the time!) I'm not sure if most writers are like this, but I tend to lean toward being an "all or nothing" type of gal. Writing will definitely challenge this personality trait! I'm learning, again, that flexibility is the key. It means that I don't have to ditch a project entirely. It means I can take a break and come back to it. Oftentimes, it's after a "creative breather" that breakthroughs happen.

Frustration is part of the writing process. Yet finding the silver lining around it can make for a productive process, as well. Flexibility is my silver lining. What's yours?

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