Is writing your friend?
Would she be someone you could call when your world gets turned upside down? Or maybe when you just want to try something crazy, new…fun?
Or do have more of a business relationship?
You know what I mean. You never really get together just because you like spending time together--just for a cup of coffee, or to chill out at the gallery. Or to cackle about something only the two of you find funny.
Maybe you only call when it’s time to get that blog post finished or because you just have to get that chapter written tonight. And when you do call? Well, it’s awkward, obviously.
If you need your writing, if you want writing to be there for you, to be your friend? Well, maybe you have to be a friend too.
And if writing sometimes feels like a struggle, if you sit down at your computer screen and just find that you’re staring into white space, awkward silence pervading? It may be time to take some steps.
So...how do develop a better friendship with your writing? Here’s the best way I know. (Hint, these things are best done in the fun, experimental and secret place that is…your creative journal).
Spend some quality time with your writing.
By which I mean the fun stuff, the fluff and the transcendent. There are no rules. Does your writing feel like musing about eating potato chips sprinkled on chocolate cake? Or nerding out about that street art exhibition you saw yesterday?
Maybe your writing is feeling a bit intellectual and wants to savor that passage in the novel you’re reading...or the poem you saw written in chalk on a blackboard on your way to work.
Find the fun, find the passion, let in the guilty pleasures, the high art… embrace your nerd zone. Capture your most luxurious moments on the page, write silly stories, poems that rhyme or even rap. Laugh if it seems funny. Play.
Stop insisting on having everything go your way.
This follows right in the footsteps of my last suggestion.
While you’re developing a relationship with your writing, please don’t stop and nitpick about every. little. detail. Or sulk because the outing doesn’t go according to your plans. Seriously, no one wants to play with someone like that.
You know that friend? The one that says you can’t go for a swim even though it’s a brilliant day because “It’s still May and May is not a swimming month!?!” Or who questions your choice of shoes…
“Do those really go with your pants? Well, it seems outside the rules of taste, fashion and color theory, but I guess it’s your call.”
Quality time with your writing is your chance create something beautiful: a relationship.
So let the sentences run on, experiment, change subjects in midair. If you speak several languages and more than one shows up at the page, why not?
Love your crazy, quirky writing for what she is--and your writing will do anything for you.
Get personal and meaningful.
While I’m all for a relationship with writing that is based on a sense of fun and play, the mark of a true friendship is the ability to share what really matters.
It means letting your guard down, showing yourself for who you are (even the unedited version.) It means bringing your friend along when you delve into what really matters to you, what disturbs you, what you love, the questions you’re asking yourself.
Which reminds me…
Give your relationship some room to breathe!
This makes sense right? I mean, we were just talking about getting personal, sharing what’s meaningful...making yourself vulnerable right?
So let me ask you this: would you be tempted to reveal yourself to someone who was just going to turn around and publish everything on Instagram, Medium or on their blog?
If you want a real relationship with your writing, if you want to create trust, consistency, tap into what’s really meaningful--let some of that quality time with your writing stay in the personal zone. The time you spend with your writing will probably lead you to some projects you’ll want to share, later.
But maintain an understanding that some of your writing is just for you.
Your creative journal can help.
If you need to redefine your relationship with your writing, the good news is that all you really need is a pen, an empty page, the will and a bit of quality time.
Writing can be the friend you turn to when your life gets upended and you need someone to help you see your way through while the dust settles. The person who helps you sift through the rubble to find a few pieces you can take with you as you move forward. Or just someone how never ceases to surprise and delight you.
Go ahead, reach out, have fun, get personal. Forge a relationship that you can’t imagine living without. Your life will thank you.
Oh and writing that has perspective, that knows how to move on from difficult moments, or that surprises you and your reader? That’s not a distraction or a detour. That’s the good stuff.
Not sure where to start? Try out the free, guided, self-paced creative journaling program today. It will help you practice one creative journaling technique and start changing your relationship with your writing.