Courtesy of Project Mayhem – an excellent blog for middle-grade writers –

How to Write When You’re Not Writing

I thought we could all use this post to assuage some of the late summer “I need to be writing” guilt. Excellent advice and a timely reminder that writing isn’t just putting words on paper – though much of James Mihaley‘s advice centers on stealing time to do just that.

We need to value our creative time, no matter what shape that time takes. Reading – especially reading good books in similar genres – is research. Taking time to appreciate the small joys or oddities of life hones our observer’s eye and gives us multitudes of details to enrich our work. And daydreaming – otherwise known as brainstorming? Well, that allows us to tap into our most creative selves – the wellspring of creativity that hides in our hearts.

For those of us who are achievement driven Type A “I should be writing” writers, it’s all too easy to become so caught up in our to-do lists and deadlines that we forget to feed our muse. Writing requires balance. A balance between discipline and distraction. While it’s true you’ll never finish a novel without putting your tush in your seat and words on paper, it’s also true that the best ideas often come to us when we allow our minds to wander. (Why else do so many ideas pop up just as we’re drifting to sleep?)

So I’m allowing myself some lazy summer days, making notes when they come to me, turning ideas around in my head, and keeping a notebook and my smartphone to hand when I’m out enjoying the sunshine.

But attention must be paid to deadlines, and so I’m off to spend some quality time in my desk chair. (Which is ergonomic and not as pictured. That chair was cute but not very practical. 🙂 )


3 thoughts on “

  1. For me it’s not guilt, but the frustration of not being able to focus on it. I’m getting there though! I mean, yeah, I just finished a lot of work since the conference, but all PB and BB-related, so it’s not the writing I long to be doing (novels). And I strongly agree that we need to breathe, to observe, to wander both mentally and physically to allow new, fresh experiences to feed our writing instead of relying on our own past experiences or those we experience vicariously. I sincerely believe that as long as we have something with us (notebook, smart phone, napkin and a pen) to record ideas or moments or whatever, we’re always writing 🙂

      1. You’re right, Leslie! And I don’t care which of my many books finally opens that door—as long as ONE of them does! 😀 It’s our passion that makes us persevere 🙂

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