Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Insecure Writer's Support Group-September 2020

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and that means it's time for another meeting of The Insecure Writer's Support Group! Our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh has assembled a wonderful bunch of co-hosts for this month: PJ Colando, J Lenni Dorner, Deniz Bevan, Kim Lajevardi, Natalie Aguirre, and Fundy Blue.

Be sure to check out the IWSG website for great writerly advice!

I wanted to talk about how hard it can be to write sometimes. During times of stress, getting words onto the page can feel a bit like pulling teeth. It doesn't help that this struggle is often coupled with insecurity. There have been many times in the last few months that I force myself to write something, only to look at it with doubt. Is this any good? Did I waste my time? I've heard it said that you can't edit a blank page, but what if what I've written is so bad that it would only make sense to delete it and start from scratch?

Am I alone in feeling this? Surely I can't be. I think a lot of us have had those dark moments. And in a year as topsy-turvy as 2020, we need to be a bit more forgiving of ourselves. In looking through various articles and social media posts, I've seen that a lot of creative people have been struggling this year.

I remember when quarantine started, I thought it would be a good opportunity to be productive. The more time you have, the more productive you can be, right? That sounds nice in theory, but as it turns out, pursuing creative endeavors requires more than time. It also requires the right mindset, and that can be harder to achieve when all of life is stressful and uncertain.

This year still feels up in the air. I don't know what's going to happen next, nor does anyone else. Yet I feel like I'm making progress again. I've been writing more. I've finished short projects again, and I'm diving back into writing a novel. I'm not moving as fast as I was at the beginning of the year, but I'm making strides. Why? Maybe it helps that I've been more forgiving of my short comings. I've been trying to beat myself up less when I fall short of a goal. Being angry with yourself doesn't make productivity come. It only leads to more stress.

If you've been struggling with your writing, be kind to yourself. You can continue to push yourself without the negativity of self-doubt. Set smaller, more attainable goals. And if you need a break to do something nice for yourself, do it. Take a walk. Watch a beloved movie or TV show. Do anything that will help you relax. Then make yourself pick back up where you left off and try writing again. Find balance between work and play wherever you can.

I don't know how much this advice means to you, but it's helped me. What do you do when you struggle with writing? What leisurely activities bring you joy when stress overwhelms you?