It’s March already, and I wonder how many of your New Year’s resolutions have worn off. By now, mine usually have. Promises to eat or spend less, or to floss and exercise more, always seemed to lose steam right about now. The one that stung the most was my resolve to make more time to write. On January 1st I’d always start out with a pretty new notebook and a substantial pen and commit to writing everyday. After a week or maybe two, I’d slip to every other day. After a month or two, I’d often be back to where I’d been in December — knowing I wanted to write yet fighting to make time do so, writing as infrequently as twice a month.
When I’d realize I’d let myself down yet again, a whole chorus of critics showed up. The Doubter: I don’t think you can do this. The Doomsayer: How many years ago did you say you wanted to be a writer? You’ll never be one. The Dictator: If you want to be a writer, you have to stop being lazy and make time for writing. Now!
My turning point was a conversation I had with a brilliant writing teacher, Sarah Selecky, of the Story is a State of Mind school. She suggested if I got quiet and admitted how much I loved writing, perhaps I could then approach making time for it not out of obligation but out of love. She likened it to caring for a baby; putting her down for a nap when she needs to sleep is an act of love, not dogma. The idea felt like switching out a flannel shirt for a silk one — different, luxurious.
I picked up a pen and a 59¢ spiral notebook and started, tentatively, to write. Suddenly, it felt delicious. It no longer felt like a chore, an item on the to-do or the I-should list. I was doing this because I loved doing this.
I wrote without a plan, without a project, without any idea on most days what would come out on the page. I found myself writing again just because I loved writing, and I wrote, just a few minutes, every day. What happened in those few minutes was infused with magic; I kept coming back for more. From Sarah I learned that creating a relationship with our writing is much like nurturing any relationship. If you love your friend and want a good friendship, you spend time with him or her, not because you have to but because you love to. You enjoy it. It was such a simple and peaceful concept. And it worked.
So I invite you think about your writing. Why not take a few minutes now? Grab your pen, sit down and write. What kind of relationship do you have with your writing? What kind would you like to have? Even if you don’t struggle to make time to write, it pays to take a fresh look at your relationship with your writing. Spend a few minutes free writing about this and see what comes up. I guarantee it’ll be a whole lot more loving than hauling out your New Year’s resolution and putting a red slash through it. In fact, this could be your best writing year yet.