Learning to Write For Yourself by Cheyenne
How hard is it for you to get up every single day and think, “Today I’m going to write that next chapter of my novel,” and then commit to it after a long day of school, a part-time job, or whatever life throws your way? It can be especially hard for people who have hit a plateau and lack the creative drive they once had. What once was a wonderful hobby or passion now seems like a chore that you feel guilty about not paying enough attention to. This can be true for writers of all backgrounds: no matter how long you have been writing, at some point in your life, you will hit a point in time where you cannot bring yourself to pick up a pen or open up that Word document and write your heart out.
You can try everything. You can attend workshops, participate in annual writing activities, and promise yourself daily that you will write at least a page’s worth of words to practice all that you learned. But all of those little promises and activities will be meaningless if you do not have the mindset that each time you write, you are writing for yourself.
A writer can get stuck in a loop, just as an artist can get trapped behind a blank canvas that they stare at for hours waiting for the inspiration to arrive. A writer can believe that they need to write because the novel has to be finished; it becomes an item on a to-do list. They started the project, and now it has to be completed. As life goes on, the novel’s importance begins to drop, and so its name makes it way down the list. Where it may have been your number-one priority, now it is number fifty on your list.
Where can you find the ability to bring yourself to write again? The solution is not as complex as you might think it is. The reason you began to write was to put an idea in your head on to paper, to tell a story you had within you. When you began to write, you were writing for yourself, and not an item on your to-do list. You can either tell yourself, “I don’t have the time today. Maybe tomorrow.” Or, you can tell yourself, “Maybe I don’t really need to go out to dinner tonight. Maybe I can spend that hour eating heated up leftovers and writing that awesome action scene I was thinking about the other day.”
Writing is a discipline all in itself, an ability to wake up every single day and commit to doing it like you would commit to going to school, working at your part-time job, and any other activity you claim that takes up your time. There will always be twenty minutes of your day where you can scratch out a few sentences, no matter how small they are at first. What matters most is that every time you do it, you are smiling. Your inspiration never left you; you left your inspiration. It waits for you each day by your novel, loyal and patient. Take a moment to go sit with it and pen a paragraph. You’ll be amazed at how fast you’ll ease into the groove of writing again once you do it just a few minutes each day. Happy writing!