Writing is hard work, not magic. It begins with deciding why you are writing and whom you are writing for. What is your intent? What do you want the reader to get out of it? What do you want to get out of it. It’s also about making a serious time commitment and getting the project done.”
– Suze Orman, finance editor and author.
Are there times when those words taste like vinegar to you too? But they’re true, huh? I think of it this way: A writer’s best friend isn’t the Internet. It’s not a short-cut, a quick fix or even a thesaurus. (This following gem of galatic insight will work a lot better if you can scare up a drum roll in your head. Ready? Okay.) A writer’s best friend is – drum roll, please: Restlessness.
That’s right. Restlessness. Let me explain.
What Do I Mean?
By ‘restless’ I don’t mean agitated and uptight or nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I mean unstill. Squirmy. Twitchy. Working. Thinking. Creating. Being engaged. Moving forward. Making progress. Being in motion – as opposed to stock-still lethargy or dull-as-a-spoon humdrum. Not being willing to let your writing rest until it’s… just right.
Put another way: a healthy dose of writing restlessness is the opposite of sitting on your laurels. It’s that little tug that says, “Okay, buster. Not quite there, give it another try.” It’s the whisper inside your head urging you to push harder, reach higher, dig deeper. It’s what makes you and me grow and develop as writers.
A Good Thing
Because when it comes to writing, being what I call ‘creatively restless’ is a good thing. It’s what drives, pokes, prods, nudges, hounds, cajoles, and yep, freckle-rattles us to the next level. Writing restlessness is the opposite of indifference. It’s what keeps you up at night wondering, “Maybe I should have used quick instead of fast? Would dawdled have been better than meandered? Maybe I should swap out chapter ten for chapter nine, and eliminate the wicked stepmother’s second cousin altogether?”
‘Creative restlessness’ is seeking out that elusive phrasing, rhythm, satisfying ending or unique plot twist like a desert oasis in the Sahara. Working toward that aha! moment when we connect with our readers.
What Pushes You
Restlessness can be what pushes you and me along in the endless process of polish, practice, patience. A hefty dose of persistence isn’t a bad idea, either.
Truth? None of us have “made it” as writers. You know what most best sellers are doing after they attain ‘book selling super-stardom’? Their next book.
And you should be, too.
So heed that inner nudge. Listen to that pesky voice inside your head. NOT the one that’s yammering at you to give up and throw in the towel, nattering on about how you’ll never ‘make it’ as a serious writer (whatever than means). Give that dude that heave-ho. I’m talking about your new best friend: the inner restlessness that’s urging you upward, onward and forward. The restlessness that helps you grow as a writer. Because writing is about making a serious commitment and getting the job done.
C’mon. You can do it!
What writing project are you working on this week that has you feeling restless? How is it helping you grow and develop as a writer?
Share in the comments section below.