Let’s be honest–writing is a tricky critter. One minute it’s a hobby, and the next it’s your life. I believe this happens with anything you are truly passionate about, but especially when you turn a hobby into a business. (Though I haven’t studied this, I have noticed that entrepreneurs have a tendency to be obsessive). Maybe your thing, like me, is telling stories. Maybe it’s vlogging or fitness or scrapbooking or soy candle-making. It can be anything. But today, I’m going to focus on writing.
The interesting thing about writing is that it seems like the more we do, explore, and live, the more we have to write about. Yet, it can be so difficult to leave your computer and get out there to pursue hobbies and interests. Why is that? Well, below are the two things I’ve struggled with.
Guilt: Let me explain. I have two hobbies that I feel are very “me.” They are things that make Shari uniquely Shari. I love to sew, and I love to make bath and body products like soaps, salves, lip balms, and other similar things.
We moved in November, and my sewing machine hasn’t seen the light of day since it was stashed in the craft cupboard. In the last several months, my son’s eczema flared up, and we couldn’t figure out why until we realized I stopped making natural soap and laundry detergent about a year ago. What happened? I love to do these things–how could I abandon them and not even realize it?
Because guilt. At some point, my brain decided that if I didn’t spend every free moment writing, I wasn’t taking my craft and my business seriously. Is that true? Of course not. In fact, it’s ridiculous. Everyone needs time away from work–even if they do what they love.
Not only that, but I would have never been able to write about Pippa making salves in Pippa of Lauramore, nor would I have been able to write all the soaping scenes in Shine and Shimmer if I hadn’t done both myself. Experiences fuel our writing–they make us more interesting. Who wants to read a book about a woman who never leaves her computer? No one. We need hobbies, and we must try new things. It’s as important as our rump-in-the-chair, fingers-on-the-keyboard time.
Time: Speaking of time, it really is a limited resource. You feel it when you have a deadline approaching. So how can I justify taking an afternoon off to paint dragons or do the dishes if I have fifty-thousand words to write in the next two weeks? Before, I couldn’t…not until I started to get writer’s block. It’s a real deal, guys. I had no idea.
But you know what the best cure I’ve found is? First, get away from the computer–preferably before you have the desire to heave it off the table. Next, if you work at home, I urge you to clean your house. Stuff really does clutter up your mind. I wrote a post about it here. It’s helped.
After your space is clear, do something fun. I’m not talking about the usual take a walk or watch Netflix (though those can be good too). I want you to do something random–something that could fuel your writing. Go explore tide pools on the beach. Watch a YouTube tutorial on cake decorating or woodworking or abstract welding, and then try it (using common sense, of course). Plan an impromptu trip. Pick up an old hobby. Just do something that will jar you a bit. If you always take walks and watch Netflix, that probably won’t be enough.
There’s a quote somewhere, but for the life of me I cannot track down who said it, so I’m going to paraphrase here. (If you know who it belongs to, please let me know so I can tag it accordingly.)
***Update–mystery solved. Thanks, Nina!***
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
When you come back to your manuscript, you will feel so much better. Remember: a day spent staring at a blank screen isn’t a day well spent, and it will not get you closer to your end goal.
In conclusion, don’t lose yourself to your writing, or eventually, you’ll realize you don’t have anything left to write about. Keep your hobbies, try new things, live your life. Your writing will be better for it.