Musings on Life,  Writing

A Look in the Mirror

Reflecting on your own perspectives on writing and your life as a writer

I feel like we can’t have a month where we talk about perspectives on writing without challenging ourselves about our own perspectives on our writing and our life as writers. I find it harder  to consolidate for myself what it means to live this crazy life of writing. I am so busy actually writing I don’t really take the time to think about how it makes me feel or how the lifestyle influences my life on a grander scale.

What do you think about writing? More importantly, what do you think of yourself as a writer? Try this: Think of your life as a writer and your writing. Now write down the first three words that come to mind. For me: Crazy, white, money. This is a great jump-off point for thinking about your own perceptions about writing. Let’s consider mine for now and what they say about my feelings on my life as a writer.

Crazy– Well, aside from just being an all around eccentric sort of guy, when it comes to a life of writing I do sometimes consider it to be a little crazy; both in a good way and a bad way. On one hand writing is an excellent way to express my feelings and share with people the ramblings of my day. I love how often I don’t know what I’m going to write about until I actually sit down and put my fingers to the keys. On the other hand however, I do find myself occasionally faced with feelings of insecurity and uncertainty when it comes to my writing. Does what I have to share have value? Am I just wasting my time? So it is this polarization of feelings that makes me sometimes feel that this life of writing is a little crazy.

White– I know, right? A colour? I think maybe it ties into this crazy excitement I touched on above. The thing with living a life of writing is that you can choose to live and write without prescriptions. You never know what’s going to happen or what direction your creativity could take you. I like to think of every post on this blog for example as starting with a “tabula rasa” or “blank slate.” Sure, I know what the theme is for a month, but whenever we write we tend to have an idea what our theme or concept is going to be. The excitement always comes in watching it unfold. I always find I surprise myself. What about you?

Money– I bet this is in many people’s three words. The single scariest thing about living a life of writing to me is the money or financial unpredictability. Worse yet is the pressure I sometimes feel to write because making money depends on it, and then (as I’m sure we have all experienced), this pressure only makes it harder to write. The other side of that argument however, is that maybe for some this pressure is synonymous with motivation. But how do we prevent this from overwhelming our perspectives on writing. I mean, often I find it too easy to fall into the trap of considering my life as a writer as “precarious” just because of the financial shadow that is cast.

I find it helpful to confront my own feelings about my life as a writer. It is something we don’t often do, and being aware of our perspectives sometimes provides insight into why we may be having difficulty writing on a particular day, or why our writing is influencing other aspects of our lives more than we would like. It also tells us what areas we have to work on to make our experience writing a more enjoyable one.

So what are your three words?

How many of them are associated with happiness? How many are associated with anxiety? Are there more associated with anxiety than happiness? If so, what do you think you could do to challenge your own perspectives and turn them towards a more positive light? Hopefully this will help get you back on track if you have wavered, and keep you there if you’re already feeling confident and stable in your life as a writer.