by Carole Brown
We all have them. The times of dryness, weariness and pressure in our writing attempts. It’s up to each of us to put on all the armor we can to fight against those demons of writing warfare. In my own life, they vary from day to day, but they are there and very real. Keeping watch over these problems is a constant battle and it never gets easier. But that’s no reason for me to give up. If for no other reason, I’m a fighter (in certain things and ways), and I WANT to write. I WANT to produce more books, and I pray that God gives me the help and strength to finish my writing course!
Here’s a short list of some writing demons in my own life:
Is there ever enough time for everything? Learn (again) that time waits on no one. Take those precious minutes, half hour, early morning, late evening–whatever you can fit in–and jot down those fifty or hundred or thousand words.
Not enough words? Of course, it is. If you hadn’t written those words, you’d have been fifty, hundred, or thousand words less. Appreciate every minute of the day and take advantage of those minutes. Every one of them count for something. Don’t let it be for nothing.
Too many items on my calendar. If that’s the case–and I’ve often found that to be so in my life–then it’s time to prioritize. We CAN NOT do everything, so pick those things that are the most important.
I suggest taking the time to make a list. You can have more than one: a personal, only you can see what’s on it, that goes into more detail, and a more general one. Here’s what my general one looks like, and there are times I have to rearrange, temporarily, some of them:
- God, and his work
Remember: these will rearrange occasionally, and some overlap (such as God and his work and friends, etc.). Also I haven’t mentioned personal interests, like hobbies, exercise, temporary demands, or sudden happenings that occur in each of our lives.
I just don’t feel like it today (or tomorrow and probably the next day). Oh, my, how many times have I faced this one?
I’ve been sick, too tired, or life is wearing me down. I’m worn down from traveling to and fro helping out, or shopping for needed items, etc. Or I’ve not had enough sleep. Too much on my mind. I’ve had to deal with other issues and can’t think straight. An accident, injury, illness with which I need to contend. The list goes on and on.
With this one, you will probably need to relax and recover. If you can’t write during this period either give your mind and body permission to take a break from writing. When you are up to it, jot notes, reread your work and mark spots that need edited. Go at a speed and with a mindset that lets you stay relaxed. Approach it as a reader and not with any pressure that you HAVE to get work done.
Another suggestion that works well for me, is to talk with, get together with a writing friend, or friends, and socialize. Help them brainstorm, offer to read a chapter or two, encourage and mentor someone else and keep the focus off yourself. You may find you come away revitalized and strengthened to begin work again.
What am I doing? Do I really think I can be a writer? Who am I kidding? Ah, the hound of discouragement nips at many heels! It’s okay to wallow a little, but don’t let it get ahold of you.
A few things that always brings hope and life back into me when that hound visits me:
- If you have a supportive companion, talk with them. Many times they can talk you through this slough of despondency and encouragement you to keep on writing.
- Share with your true writing buddies, or if you prefer not to let them know, then at least fellowship with a few. Just being around mine encourages me to go home and write. Lately, I’ve struggled to make headway (because of some of the above) on a certain novel I’m trying to complete. But at a recent writing retreat, I was amazed as we all sat working, that I was able to see the manuscript with fresh eyes, and able to write again.
- If you’re published, reread some of your good reviews, whether one or twenty, they can give you the incentive to keep writing.
- Remember who you write for. God? Yourself? Others? To make a difference? To share the gospel? For entertainment? Whatever your reason it, you’re the only one that can do it. Stay true to your purpose and write.
- Talk with God. He’s always our best encourager. He’s always by our side. Listen. Then obey!
What demons to you encounter in your writing? How do you overcome them?