The Problem with Writing as a Means to an End

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Is it time to spice up your writing practice?

A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.

William Stafford

Writing can help you as a source of income.

Writing can help plant seeds of intention that eventually blossom into a new lifestyle.

Writing can help solve long-standing problems in your life, your community, and in our world.

The problem with achieving writing goals is that it’s satisfying for a while, but not too long, based on my experience, and several authors I know.

We get our first article published, or make our first check as a professional writer, and after a time, the enchantment of reaching an external goal wears off.

But hopefully, the enchantment of writing as a practice starts to take hold.

After writing most days for over 20 years, I have found that the biggest value of writing comes when I view it as a practice.

Every writer is different, we all have our own practice of writing.

Some writers have a natural ability and drive to see writing as a practice.  They neither glorify or diminish their writing.

You have probably heard about writers like the poet William Stafford (1914-1993) quoted at the beginning of this post, a former poet laureate of the United States who consistently awoke in the wee hours each morning and wrote a poem every day for as long as he lived, which resulted in a prodigious output of over 20,000 poems and 60 books.  Or the business writer who happily writes copy or product guides and user manuals for her whole career.

For me creating a practice was more of an accident, than intentional.  I started to notice that I didn’t need to meet any goal to keep writing.  I found that daily writing protected my sanity on those days when life crushed my spirit.

Over the years, I observed that different writers practice writing in whatever way that suits their soul’s calling and development, and that trying to copy someone else’s practice didn’t work.

Whether you write for someone else, for your own business, for yourself  or as a creative artist, nothing is more helpful for your development than taking the time to periodically review the state of your writing practice.

If you want writing to be your destiny, you have to practice.

Today’s contemplation:  What is the state of your writing practice now?

One of the great joys with my business, has been helping writers to expand their writing practice as a coach.  If you’re interested in learning more about how to develop your writing practice in a way that suits your life and goals, click here.

 

How do We Keep Improving our Writing Practice?

Writing Your Destiny picI spent over a decade of my life as a professional business writer. Add to that my years as a Sustainability Director at a non-profit in Chicago, which required that I do a lot of grant writing and create many types of marketing collateral,  I did a lot of writing.  Even during my years as a product engineer, writing was a big part of what I did to make money.  And during all these years, I appreciated editors.

I never had much problem in receiving criticism on ways my business writing could be improved.  It wasn’t difficult to keep a distance from my writing.

Creative writing is different for me, but probably shouldn’t be so much.

Many years ago, I took a few classes where my creative writing was critiqued in workshops, and I mostly hated the process.  I can’t really imagine getting a MFA where my creative writing would be workshopped and made to fit some mold.

Yet, I have to admit that I will need an editor for my novels.

I have been refining and editing drafts of my novels for years.

This year, I will finish the first novel, because my attitude about writing the novel is beginning to feel like it did when I was writing professionally for someone else.

I have stopped thinking of my creative writing as needing to be perfect or precious.  I want it to be beautiful, which I believe is a different focus.

Thought for today:  How do you view your writing as less precious, so that it can be edited and refined to be the best it could be?

Your Writing Practice in 2016

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Life was not always a trip to the beach in 2015, but we did visit several of them last summer!

If there’s one thing that was reinforced in 2015 for me, it is that life is very short, and frankly that writing is NOT everything.

Love is more important than writing. Friendship is more important than writing. World peace is more important than writing.

However, in my opinion, writing is one of the best practices for bringing enchantment into our  life and the lives of others in a lasting way.

We can share beautiful ideas that live long after we’re gone.

People who we will never meet, can read our creations for long after we’ve left this plane of existence.

Some people literally save lives with their writing.  Human and earth creatures.

So, we want to make sure that what we write has a positive impact.

Except sometimes we don’t write what we should.

In my case, I have written some things that I regret.  Scathing letters to people who annoyed me.  Articles that were perhaps too cliché or trite.  Or marketing brochures that were not all that clever. My writing skills need a lot of improvement in order to be able to write the novels I want to finish this year.

This year, I want to focus on improving my writing, mostly my creative writing.  I’m hoping some of you will come with me on this adventure during 2016.

Today’s question to ponder:

What part of your writing practice do you want to improve this year, if any?