Hello, Visionaries! I'm excited to share a guest post with you from Allyson Jamison! Allyson has a super fun and super encouraging writing blog here if you'd like to check that out!
Alright, so I read this post the other day and asked Allyson if I could share it because I think is a reminder we all need. So, let's hop right in!
In my last newsletter I went into a topic that has been on my heart for a little while now. It’s something that I don’t feel is talked about much in the writing world. Or, if it is, I don’t hear about it much. So if you need to hear it, here it is:
It’s okay to do less, even when you’re wishing you were doing more.
As a writer, I think we have a lot of pressure to always be pounding out content, to always be writing our next novel or our next story, we’re always expected to be doing more. It’s like people forget we’re only human and can only do so much. I think sometimes we forget that as well.
I fall into the trap as well. So often I try to push myself to write more, to do more, to be more. But I can only stretch myself so far because, well, as I said, I’m human. When people push themselves too far, that’s when they go into burn out and an over all feeling of “done”. That’s probably not the most eloquent way to put it, but that’s how I feel. XD Done with life.
This isn’t a healthy place to be in, folks.
Writing is a form of art, and art comes from a special place inside us. It’s not something you can just force yourself to do—you have to feel it. And when all you’re feeling is burn out, you can no longer feel your art.
As I’m sure you all know by now, I have been working on edits with my current novel for… a long time. XD Okay, in all fairness, it’s only been a few months. But it feels like so much longer. This is the first time that I’ve ever edited one of my novels so it’s been a huge learning process (which has been part of the reason for how long it’s taken).
It’s been hard for me to spend so long on one project because I’m generally a fast writer and can finish a novel in a short time frame. Actually, I wrote this novel faster than I’m now editing it. I’ve been pretty down on myself for that.
But what I’ve been learning lately, and am still learning, is that it’s okay to do less. It’s okay to take longer at a project. It’s even okay to go weeks without writing at all (or editing in my case). It’s okay.
Something I heard Nadine Brandes say on a webinar a while back and has still stuck with me because it was so good, is that even if you’re going through an off season with writing, you’re still learning because you’re living life.
Read that again and let it soak in for a second.
Even if you’re not writing, you’re still learning because you’re living life.
This actually goes back to what I was saying in my recent post about priorities. For too long writing was over living my own life on my priority list. But it can’t be. Because that’s what leads into burn out and an altogether unsatisfied life.
When you’re living your life you can’t help but have adventures, fun moments, and inspiration that can be pulled from for your stories. But not only that, stories are full of life lessons and themes that you can’t know about unless you learn them yourself through living life! (Not to say you can’t write about a theme you don’t have experience with. I mean, you can do anything in fiction, right? But it does become more impactful for the readers, and for you, when you’ve gone through it yourself.)
For a long time I lived with the belief that I needed to be writing, writing, writing. Always. Constantly. I couldn’t lose that consistency. For a time, maybe that was what I needed when I was trying to learn consistency. Maybe you’ll go through a time when you need that as well.
But you can’t always live that way.
Because you’re not living if you’re squirreled away in your bedroom writing nonstop.
This is what I’ve had to learn. It was what I was already thinking for some time when Nadine Brandes said that in her webinar with Sara Ella. In a way, it felt like she was giving me permission to write less.
I know, I know that must sound crazy, but it’s the truth. No one has everything figured out, but when I hear a successful author saying something I can’t help but think it has to be truth. XD I realize this is an unfounded belief, but the point still stands: I needed to hear that that day.
I hope that you will be able to take something from this as well. I hope that, in time, you can learn that every writer has off seasons and that it’s okay for you to take one as well (speaking to myself here as well). Those off seasons can be some of the most fruitful time periods as a writer, because it’s through them that you grow and gain motivation and inspiration.
It’s through them that you become a better writer.
Do you ever feel pressured to write more or do more? How do you deal with the pressure? What have you been doing to live life more fully?
About the Author:
I am a quirky young writer with a passion to serve Christ in all that I do. Writing makes up the very being of who I am and I could never imagine doing anything else. In my spare time, you can find me reading my pocket-sized thesaurus, playing friendly pranks on unsuspecting family members, or writing my next great novel. Always with a cup of tea.