Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making Time for Writing without the Guilt

It’s summertime! Sunny and warm days inspire us to spend some time outdoors, enjoying nature. But do outdoor activities inspire you to write? In my personal experience, writing is as whimsical as the weather in Montreal. Last year I was typing away and producing almost a story or two per week. This year I’m involved in different projects, leaving me almost no time for my writing. However, I’ve decided not to feel guilty about it because it stresses me out. And when I stress I definitely cannot write.

So here are some tips that work for me (without the added guilt):

• Forget about schedules. Not everyone can adhere to them. Go with the flow, especially if you’re the free-spirited type.

• Carry a small notebook with you. You might get inspired while riding the metro, the bus, or just strolling down the street. Jot down ideas as they flutter in your mind.

• Make some time for quiet time. It could be sitting on a park bench, indulging in a bubble bath, going to the library, and / or even at your place of worship.

• Join a writers’ group. Writers feed from each other’s energy.

• Register for a writing workshop. It’ll get your writing juices flowing.

Writing should be fun, not stressful. So go out there and enjoy your summer….your writing will soon follow.


  1. Oh, good. I'm glad you're not feeling so guilty about it. There's a time and place for everything. It all comes back around. You've come up with a good list of helps.

  2. Anonymous said... All good advice, Claudia. One thing though. you write:
    Carry a small notebook with you. You might get inspired while riding the metro, the bus, or just strolling down the street. Jot down ideas as they flutter in your mind. I'd add one caveat. Transfer those jottings to a word doc as soon as you can. My work station is full of illegible jottings and a small mountain of them soon resembles a cerebral mouse cage.

    June 29, 2011 4:30 AM

  3. Awwww I definitely am for enjoying the great outdoors in such lovely weather!!! I think finding time to just un-wind and de-stress and to appreciate nature is so essential for general well being and happiness!! And you are so right too!! I cannot write anything if I am unhappy. I need to be happy to be inspired creatively! Take care

  4. Guilt, loathing and self-inflicted stress can wear a writer down in no time. Great post Claudia. It's hard to keep a fluidity in writing since for most writers it doesn't have any monetary purpose.

  5. I've finally been able to let go of the feeling I need to write for "x" amount of hours. It's wonderful. Now I write whenever I feel like it, and the words flow much better. Great tips!

  6. OMG! Thank you, everyone for your wonderful comments. I apologize for not answering sooner or to each one of you (instead group reply) but I had a little accident today. I fell from a chair which I was using instead of a ladder, trying to get something out of the closet. :(
    Nothing serious, I just have a couple of bruises below my ribs and pain on my right side. I'll be like new in no time :)
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    To my friends and family in the USA: Happy 4th of July!!!
    To my Canadian friends: Happy Canada Day!

  7. Correction: Oops! meant to say, "fell off" ;)
    I guess the fall affected my grammar, LOL!

  8. Hi Claudia. I use my Blackberry for taking quick notes. Of course, carrying my BB with me defeats the idea of a carefree summer, doesn't it?

  9. Hi Adam,
    blackberry is fine...I just said that for the old-fashioned types like me ;)
    You don't have to jot everything down, go with your gut feeling. :)

  10. Thanks for the good reminders, Claudia. We could all stand to slow down a bit and remember that there's time to write. We do it because we love it, not to cause stress. Those are words I needed to hear this morning.

    East for Green Eyes

  11. Hello! How's it going?

    I totally agree with you that writer's don't need guilt on top of all our other emotions.


  12. Hi Misha,
    Thank you for stopping by. ;)

  13. Oddly enough, I find some of my best (and clearest) ideas/thoughts regarding my writing come when I'm out walking our dog. I find the outdoors amazingly clarifying; whether (no pun intended) it's due to the climates, be it cold and frosty, or windy with driving rain, or a warm, sun-kissed day, I find it clears the cobwebs and gives a fresh pair of eyes on the subject.

    A little game I play during my walks is to mentally describe the weather, the temperature, how it makes my body feel, how it influences my thoughts and emotions. Or if I see something I like due to colour or texture, I try to describe that - the most amazing one is frost: describe an early morning frost as it clings with a light dusting of crystalised white on every blade of grass, or those finger-like, skeletal branches reaching out as if desperate to touch you as you pass.

    Better still, take a dictaphone or other such recording device (virtually all mobile phones have that function now as standard) and give a running commentary.

    Trust me, your walks will actually take on a whole new life of their own as you now view them with a fresh pair of eyes. Have fun :)