“Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing…the rest will follow.” Jane Yolen
Sometimes it all sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Just love what you do and the rest will follow. Simple, but not easy.
We’ve all had those days when loving our words is tough. When it seems impossible. When words wrestle with us like Jacob’s angel, but they don’t seem to bless us. Instead, they defy us. They. Make. It. Hard.
Like any relationship we really care about, our love affair with writing can be a challenge. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes, mostly downs.
What to do, what to do?
Here’s what I’ve learned when I hit one of these “No Love Zones”—we have to keep going. When we can’t feel the love, we simply do the work.
Can’t love the work in the moment? Then do the work. Do it anyway.
Just do it. Just keep going. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be joyful. It doesn’t have to be soul-satisfying. It’s wonderful when writing is all of these. When we’re in the flow.
But when the flow flees for a while, then it’s time to get to work. To do whatever comes to hand as well as you can, knowing that your dry spell is just part of the ebb and flow of the creative process.
And even if you’re not quite in love with what you’re doing in the moment, you can still befriend your work. You can still have fun.
Write a poem. Use green ink. Turn off your computer and write by hand. Instead of a sheet of paper, pull out some index cards. Write a paragraph on each one, the way Nabokov did. And Challenge yourself to sprinkle a little magic—an odd word, a captivating phrase—in each paragraph you write, the way Raymond Chandler used to.
Make it fun and the love will flow back, like the waves at high tide. Then you’ll remember how wonderful it is to be a wordsmith, a scribe, a writer. And you’ll be off and running again. Write on!
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