by Joanna Maciejewska
From my experience, people who claim writing is easy either haven’t written anything yet or don’t treat their writing seriously. Sure, the process of transferring one’s thoughts to paper or digital document can be extremely simple… Making them flow, engage the reader, and evoke emotions isn’t. Getting one’s story right might bring about frustration, depression, self-doubt, and obesity when the former are remedied with cake. That’s why writers need to remember about self-care, and one of the basic ways is to love your writing.
Love your writing, love your job
Unless you’re writing as a hobby, only when you feel like it, you’re likely to be treating your writing like a job. You make plans, you set deadlines for yourself, and you try to stick to your writing routine rather than leaving it to chance or the elusive “Muse”. Jobs can be daunting or tiring, not fun at all (and they never pay enough for the effort, right?).
Depending on the perspective, the same task can be either fun or a pain. Cooking dinner quickly put together after a long day of work feels like a chore, but when you’re preparing a meal for a friend you haven’t seen in years, it suddenly becomes a joyful preparation.
If you remember that you love your writing, the related tasks will become less cumbersome, and you might even start enjoying those parts of the writing process you previously hated and avoided.
But wait, I need to be critical of my writing!
We all know that writer who struggles with the simplest grammar and story structure, but won’t accept any feedback on their writing. Nobody wants to be like them, because writing means constantly learning and growing. Writing means being critical of words to make them better.
But it also can mean sliding down the slide of “my writing is worthless”, because the more we learn, the more critical of our writing we become, and the more problems with it we see.
To love your writing doesn’t mean you need to stop being critical. You don’t have to turn the blind eye to the problems your text might have. You can love your writing despite those problems.
It might be in human nature to love perfect things, but beauty also lies elsewhere. You can find it in the unique imperfections, in the things that you have a personal connection to, in the things that evoke strong feelings, making you laugh or cry. Your writing, if you give it a chance, ticks all those boxes. Then why not love it, even if it’s still need some work?
How to love your writing
It’s not an easy task, to love your writing while you glare at the gaping plot holes, incoherent descriptions, or cliche characters. Yet, with a little exercise and effort, it can be done.
Even though writing process have many rough moments, it also has plentiful of the good ones. The excitement of coming up with a brilliant plot twist. The exhilaration of finishing a project. The one-liner that always makes you giggle, no matter how many times you read it.
Collect those moments and revisit them whenever the negative thoughts about your writing creep up on you. They might not cure your frustration or self-doubt, but they’ll remind you why you’re writing. They’ll balance out the negative feelings, preventing you from sliding down the spiral of hopelessness.
Recall your successes, small and big, and shamelessly compare the beginner writer you were to the one that has grown so much since then. Your writer past won’t get upset, and you’ll feel better knowing the leaps and bounds you’ve made.
Reread your work, revisiting all those bits that you particularly love. Let your own writing entertain you (even if you’re making mental notes of what to fix later).
Cling to those feelings and love your writing. Because if you do, no disheartening thoughts will rule over you and your stories for long.
Joanna Maciejewska is a fantasy and science-fiction writer who was born in Poland, spent a little under a decade in Ireland, and now resides in Arizona. She had stories published in Polish magazines (“Nowa Fantastyka”, “Science-Fiction Fantasy i Horror”) and anthologies (Fabryka Słów, Replika, Solaris), and she also writes in English (“Fiction Vortex”, “Phantaxis”, “The Worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror”). You can find out more about her and her stories at melfka.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.