dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

How to deal with not writing

on August 21, 2012

When I launched this blog, I mentioned that one of the things I’d write about would be writing. But today, I feel that what I know most about is Not Writing! I’m good at that. Very good. But you don’t win prizes for it.

Would I even want that award? And what would it look like?

  • A VDU with a fist through it?
  • A broken quill pen? (Very artistic!)
  • A little statuette of a writer, head on desk and fist clearly pounding?
  • Or a writer in a sun lounger, reading, cool drink to hand?

Now that I could identify with.

As a writer who continues to want to be published, the pressure to actually get down to writing is constant. But what if we could switch our focus so we can view our Not-Writing time as valid, even laudable?

Visual artists look at the spaces between whatever it is they’re aiming to paint or draw, and then paint/draw the spaces to create the final work. What if we writers cherished the spaces between our writing – the Not-Writing?

I started this week with the word WRITE! emblazoned across every day in my diary. No pressure there, ha! But what if I’d looked instead at the Not-Writing hours and considered how best to use them? Blocked in time to lie on the sun lounger with the cool drink and the latest Laurie R King/Jacqueline Winspear?

Reframing the days like this changes Writing from a must-do to a normal what I do when I’m Not-Writing. Places it second to God as the basic ground of my being. If the writing is the norm, the usual, and the Not-Writing is what I need to plan for, it reduces the heat and the pressure

So when I finish this, I can get back to the new novel and let 1000 words flow out of my fingertips through the keyboard and onto the screen while I watch and discover exactly what happens to my heroine. Teacher Lydia has joined the Scots fisher lassies gutting herring at the curing yards in Yarmouth, but it’s Saturday. The Scots boats don’t – won’t – fish on Sunday, so from Saturday midday they’re free to enjoy themselves.

Only, this Saturday – 15th October 1921 –  God is waiting for them in the power of the Holy Spirit and a man called Jock Troup.

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One response to “How to deal with not writing

  1. Christy Farmer says:

    Hi Dorothy,
    I think non-writing time is very important to a writer. For some reason, it is during routine, mundane times I get first ideas for a story. Don’t put pressure on yourself, just enjoy the journey along the way. 🙂

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