Yesterday I talked a little about writing as a Stoic, which is all about self-discipline and making choices because they’re what you should do to become your ideal writer.
Today I’m going to talk about how to kick back as a writer and really enjoy it (or at least the things that help me destress, relax, and create a “contented plan” for the future when I am writing).
1. Dream Big
Don’t be afraid to think about something grand you’ll write. You aren’t committing to it, necessarily (my novel is waiting for a time when I’m less busy and more available).
There’s a certain element of power in the notion of visualization, or picturing yourself succeeding at your tasks. Take some time to focus on the intrinsic success itself (not the money, publishing deal, or fame, but just having completed the creative process).
2. Connect to Others
You’ll hear people say not to compare yourself to other peoples, but that’s not to discourage you entirely from any external comparison.
One of the things that I find interesting is to think about how my work is inspired by other people. Of course there are times that you can point to a key influential figure, but sometimes you’ll be writing and just not realize what you really were tying to, which leads me to…
3. Reflect on your Creations
I often find myself writing out of frustration, or I’ll have some idea that pops into my head pervasively and needs to be put on paper before I can sleep.
Then I tend to forget about these things or walk away from them.
But there are a few things that you can reflect on and really figure out why you wrote them. When you do this, you’re giving yourself two things: a better understanding of yourself, and a better understanding of writing practice.
If you enjoy learning, which most people do, then you’ve just gotten a massive boost. It can also help teach you about yourself; for instance, I can look back at my writing and tell you if I wrote something when I was stressed or not. Self-monitoring via your writing can be very helpful to figure out what your subconscious is trying to tell you.
4. Play in the Mud
I’ve never been ashamed to write anything. I write high and lofty things, great (in subject, if not in form) allegories, and works that I would, if my craftmanship matched my ambition, be proud of putting in front of any critic in the world.
But there’s also a time to write what you like. Do it. You don’t need everything to be publishable, you don’t even need it to be good. Write what you want to write, and don’t be upset if nobody but you would like it, or if it’s too self-indulgent.