29 Apr Create A Writing Routine Part IV: Talking to Others
It’s extremely complicated to create a writing routine, especially these days. Not only do we have day jobs, families, bills, and responsibilities of all kinds. We also have more technology than ever before, tempting us with an infinite amount of information, and useless distractions, at our fingertips. To be a successful writer now means to push back against everything that comes first in our lives. And to fight every day for the time and space to put words on a page. Even though it is a fight, it doesn’t have to feel like one. With some planning, a shift in how we view our day to day lives and routines, and some positive self-reinforcement, we can all be successful writers, whatever that means to each of us individually.
I’ve had a lot of lifestyle changes recently. I’m married now, I have animals to take care of, a house to look after, and more bills than I’ve had before, plus, I’m constantly on the pursuit of different ways to make money. I’m also living in a new town without the comforts and resources I’ve had previously. Luckily, I’m pretty good at finding places to work wherever I am in the world, but the struggle of staying in one location longer than normal, plus stress of the other changes in my life put writing to the back of my mind. While I’ve always been interested in productivity, especially in a freelance work setting, it’s never been more important for me to stay on track and continuously progress both in my short-term money making opportunities, and my long term writing goals.
After reading books by Carolyn See, Áine Greany, Anne Lamott, Ron Carlson, and Natalie Goldberg, I’ve compiled a list of tips and advice that has really changed the way that I work and view the work that I’m doing. I’ve focused on five topics and have created a post for each of them.
Table of Contents
- Preparing you inner self for writing and being more productive.
- Ways to getting (re)started in a writing life, maybe again.
- The importance of having a daily and weekly writing habit.
- What to do about talking to others about our work.
- How to not let life get in the way.
What to do About Talking to Others About Our Work
As I mentioned earlier, you should explain to your family the dreams and responsibilities of your writing career. If you don’t tell people they won’t understand what you’re trying to do. When they see you writing in a notebook, or typing away at your laptop, they won’t take it seriously. To them, you’re just messing around.
If they knew it was important to you, they could be more lenient. They know that this time is necessary for you and hopefully leave you to do it. It’s also important to tell people you’re a writer because it further validates what you’re doing. Just like needing to remind yourself that you’re a writer, telling others will reinforce these feelings. Hopefully the people around you will be supportive. But as I’ve said, if they’re not, they can probably leave you alone.
But, don’t talk too much
On the other side, it’s risky to talk too much about your writing. You should keep things to yourself because it could be detrimental to your work. If we talk openly about our work, being specific about our stories it could take away from our creativity. Let people know it’s a novel about a woman in Nebraska, or an essay about your visit to Paris. Try not to open up too much about it until the writing is done.
If you go into detail about things you haven’t written yet, these details you discuss might not have as much power when you take it to the page. Well-meaning people might give their input, often something you don’t want to hear, kick starting your inner critic and inhibiting your writing. Keep your ideas in your head until it’s time to write so that there’s no outside influence and you can write freely without abandon.
Carolyn See also says not to tell anyone about your writing until you’re basically an established writer. I don’t completely agree with this. It can be counterproductive to having a healthy writer self-image to hold it in. I think that shows that any writing you’re doing now, before having any clout, is stupid and unimportant.
I would want to let people know I’m a writer. However, sometimes people around us, with more typically normal jobs, will secretly resent us for our bohemian lifestyle. They won’t always understand why you’re taking an hour to write after work instead of spending time with your family, or doing something “productive.” Having these types of conversations will start to breed self-doubt.
How Do You Make Money?
Because I work from home I often get asked, “how do you make money.” Or I’m told, “Since you don’t work you can do this, or that.” These things are often said by well-meaning people who just don’t understand. Or they are secretly jealous that I can “stay home and do nothing, but still get paid,” but they still trip me up. I start to think of the work I’m doing as meaningless or not as good as what people are doing when they go into an office.
I doubt myself, my way of life, and the goals I have. And I consider getting a “real job.” If only to prove to people that I’m not lazy and actually have skills to contribute to society. This is an unfortunate side effect of a creative career. While it’s not our responsibility to change their view on our line of work, we can try to minimize the amount of conversations like this. We can give the minimum of our jobs and changing the conversation. We’re still proud and open about being a writer without inviting comments that could harm our confidence.
Have you dealt with people undermining your work? How do you deal with it? How much do you tell them? Let me know in the comments. This is definitely still something I’m dealing with.