Have you ever started writing a genre or form you don’t normally write, in an attempt to get away from what you do normally write?
It’s happened to me plenty of times. Generally, I most enjoy writing creative nonfiction and short stories, with a few novels thrown in for fun. I’ve dabbled in most forms of writing, (songs, poems, blog posts, tech writing, marketing copy, essays, etc.) but I always come back to the same thing: short stories and creative nonfiction about my own life.
Except when I don’t.
Recently I found myself thinking that perhaps I shouldn’t write as much creative nonfiction as I do, or try and focus more on lengthy novels rather than short stories. Maybe I should focus more on technical blog posts, informative and fun, rather than the creative essays that really tug at my heart and share my soul with the world.
It wasn’t until I had a friend comment on a recent creative piece I had written for my personal blog that I felt like I had really gone off track from my writer soul.
We were skyping and talking about writing and she said to me, “You know Lex, your blog posts are great, but your writing really shines when you write the short stories and more creative things.”
I was touched and surprised and a bit confused. I took a look at what I had been writing recently and realized that I had been pouring all of my writing prowess into blog posts (and a few fun things coming your way soon!), but I had been trying to convince myself to veer towards the more how-to nonfiction rather than the creative essays and short stories that really bring me joy.
I’m what I call a “heart-writer”. I write from my soul and my heart and my life lessons are shared best through essays on personal experience. It’s always been how I’ve best reached people, how I’ve most influenced people.
So how had I gotten off track? How had I become out of touch with my own writing soul?
They say necessity is the mother of invention. And February was a month of unproductivity when it came to this blog and my personal projects.
I hadn’t been getting everything done that I wanted to. I hadn’t had free time to write much of anything, let alone the day to day posts for this blog or the heart pieces I wanted to write for my personal blog.
So I let myself put my nose to the grindstone and put blinders around my eyes and tried to let one month and one situation paint my entire writing future.
Have you ever done this? I hope it’s not just me.
After hearing what my friend said, I did a bit of thinking and checking in with myself, and now I’ve reallocated a bit of my time. I’m building in time in my day both for my blog posts and for short stories and creative nonfiction. Both make my writer heart happy, but only one of them is the reason I write in the first place. You can’t do one without the other.
Are you close to the grindstone today? Are you feeling behind in your goals or like you’re drowning in work? Are you worried you won’t make your deadlines or worried of your lack of deadlines?
Let it all go and take ten minutes today to remind yourself why you write. Print out your best pieces, read them over, and remind yourself of your strengths and soul.
Let’s all get back to writing what we need to.