Every once in a while, I need to renew my dedication to writing. I’m sure many writers do this, but I find about every year, I need to refocus myself and ask the question, why do I really write?
Whenever I blog, or just write in general, I seek to provide some bit of my own life experience along with actionable advice. Sometimes, I even aim to be motivational, even when I’m not feeling much inspired myself. Essentially, I want whoever reads what I write to relate to it somehow. It’s even better to be able to take away something useful from others reading what I write.
At the end of each year, I always come to the same desire, wanting my writing to read better and more clearly. The flow and meter of my words, even in prose, have become of paramount importance to me. I still get so caught up in long sentences at times, though. While I’m much more concise with my words than in years past, I can still greatly improve. I want my writing now to feel more like free verse poetry than dry professional copy. Who wants to just read yet another article or essay?
What Prompts a New Dedication to Your Writing?
When you feel your writing isn’t doing what it should, it’s time for a new dedication to writing. Ask yourself, what brings you alive through the written word? If your writing doesn’t bring you alive, then you’re doing something wrong.
So, what brings me alive through writing? It’s finding connections between things that didn’t seem to go together before. For years, I found that my poetry often brings out ideas that I couldn’t seem to develop well in prose, but gained life in verse. Because of these discoveries, I wrote many free verse poems in my teenage years and through my twenties.
As I began minding meter and rhyme scheme more, the poetry became far richer. Sometimes when you go to force rhyme schemes, verses can go in directions you never expected. Of course, things will still go off the rails here and there. But, other times you make something cool. That’s what I live for in writing: to put words together in new ways that create new and cool ideas.
Unfortunately, as I entered my thirties, I wasn’t feeling verse any more. While a poem or two still squeaks out in my journal here and there, usually all I get now are a line or two that work themselves into a personal essay. This is when I decided to rededicate myself to writing prose as my primary form; in particular, writing articles on topics I have passion for, as well as personal essays covering issues and themes that I think about daily.
There’s a reason that reading and writing are the two major skills that everyone must learn and develop. You never stop getting better at reading or writing as long as you do each of them constantly. That’s why it’s imperative to do both early and often, even if you’re not a full time writer. It’s good for your mind to keep taking in new ideas and ways of thinking.
Your Mind is Your Greatest Resource
I continue to go back and revise my older work constantly. Sometimes, that means I have to reimagine a lot of my old writing, especially the further back in my archives I go. The ideas within often seem trapped in between the words, and my job is to try and free them if I can.
There are many times when I wrote endlessly, yet what I sought to really say never really came. I used to seem to care more about the words themselves than what they actually say together in concert. I know I’ve written plenty that resonates with others. Yet, many times, I feel I come up short. That’s a writer’s life: always trying to find a better way to say something. At times, you’re saying pretty much the same thing, but in a thousand different ways.
None of us are ever going to be perfect, as writers, as communicators, or as human beings. In the end, it’s all about your effort in your work to get better in all of these aspects. The more you put into something, both when you’re at your best and at your worst, the more you’ll get out of it.
Dedicating Yourself to Writing is Just Getting the Words Out
Writing as a craft is a strange animal. Some of us can only do it a few minutes at a time. Others pour our entire lives into it and, after a time, an endless fountain of words springs forth. But, it’s just the act of writing itself that matters. The more time you can put into the craft the better; yet, just getting started and sticking with your writing matters more.
I’ve found that reading more than writing is actually fine. It’s perfectly OK to take in more ideas than you put out. That’s actually been better for me. Otherwise, I find the writing well begins to go dry. Even when I focused more on my poetry, some things still read better in prose. No matter what, the prose machine inside my head will never die; eventually, the prose won over the poetry, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You need to know what your mind is telling you to put down, and why, then put yourself to work saying what needs to be said in the very best way you can.
So, when you’re feeling stuck or down, it’s good to rededicate yourself to writing, or whatever else it is that brings you alive. If you can’t, you should be doing it differently or trying something new that excites you. Also, keep in mind, just because someone’s written something before, doesn’t mean you can’t put it better!
~ Amelia <3