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How to Fall Deliriously in Love With Writing (Again)

How to Fall Deliriously in Love With Writing (Again)

Pour yourself a cup of steaming coffee (or tea) and make it strong.

Pull up a chair (one of those cozy ones that you can really sink into).

Take a seat. Get comfortable.

It’s story time.

This story is about me (and I want you to read it even though all of the other blogging gurus have told me not to write about myself).

This story is a heartbreaker. It’s about my breakup with one of the great loves of my life.

(But, like any great love story, it ends with a make out session in the rain. Well…kind of.)

Ready? Here we go.

(Imagine the music that plays before a flashback in one of those old corny shows like Saved By The Bell. Yeah, you’ve got it.)

In December of 2014, I decided to start this blog.

I wanted to write again, because writing has always sustained me, ever since I was a hopeless romantic in middle school. I would write love stories every night in which I was the focus of not only one, but two boys’ affections. (During the day, I was a pimply 13 year old with a Jewfro and braces.)

When I first started this blog, I was writing every single day.

And I looooved it. I woke up ready to put my fingers to the keys of my keyboard. I often didn’t even know what I would write about. I just wanted it. I hungered for my own words.

Then I cut down to 5 times a week. I still craved writing, but I figured I needed to live my life, too.

After a few weeks of this, it went down to 3 times a week. Then twice. Then once.

And…for the past few months, I’ve only been writing every other week. Sometimes, not even that much.

Writing and I are officially on the rocks.

It’s not that I don’t still love her. (Because writing is obviously a woman.)

It’s that I’ve put all of these expectations, all of these restrictions, on my relationship with writing.

I can’t write a blog post if I can’t share it on all of my group boards on Pinterest.

I can’t write a blog post if it doesn’t speak directly to my target audience.

I can’t write a blog post if the same topic has been written before.

I can’t write a blog post if it doesn’t fit into a nicely bulleted list, with subheadings and click to tweets.

And because of my self-imposed restrictions, I don’t love writing anymore.

Here’s how I used to write:

I would set a timer. I would write a sentence to start me off. And then I would GO. I wrote the truest, scariest, most delicious things that came from the most hidden layer of myself.

I wrote about the long forgotten moments of my life, moments that feel like treasures. Not like gold, but like treasures that you find in a yard sale, or in your grandmother’s basement. The one of a kind moments that forever changed me. That rocked my world.

I used to write nakedly, unabashedly. All of the broken parts of myself were laid bare, glittering as they were brought into the light.

Write nakedly. Write unabashedly. Bring the broken parts of yourself glittering into the light. Click To Tweet

In this crazy online world, I’ve stopped writing like that.

My words have stopped feeling like a lifeline and started feeling like handcuffs.

It’s hard to be honest when you want people to like you.

It’s hard to be vulnerable when you’re already wondering how many times your post is going to be shared.

It’s hard to keep writing when you’ve stripped away all of the beauty and the mystery of writing.

Yes, writing is a tool for connecting and building an audience. An incredibly powerful one.

But it’s also a vehicle for connecting to yourself.

I tell other women their voices are powerful.

I help them celebrate what is unique and vibrant about them, the things that they don’t think to celebrate, because they take them for granted.

And part of why I do that is that I have the same struggle. I struggle to own my own power, to use my own voice in a way that’s real and true and that feels good.

I want this post to be a turning point.

The start of using my voice in the most audacious way possible: honestly and without fear.

blog writing

This post is the beginning of me and writing getting back together.

Me and writing, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

(You know, like the amazing kiss at the end of the movie that you want to watch over and over.)

Things are about to get steamy.

Stay tuned.

An easy 5 minute exercise to help you tackle blogger’s block

An easy 5 minute exercise to help you tackle blogger's block

So you’ve created your blogging plan. You have a good idea to write about.

You sit down, open your blogging platform, create a new post…and then what?

You can read lots of articles about the perfect blog post (like this one from Buffer, for example).

You know exactly how many words should go in your headline. You are prepared to put a tweetable somewhere in your post to make it more shareable. You’re going to write short paragraphs to make it more readable.

But before all that, you have to start writing.

Here’s the thing: blogging is an art form. It’s about sitting down day after day to create.

And even though there are plenty of experts out there who can tell you how they’ve made it big in the blogging world, they can’t tell you what your unique contribution will be.

So instead of focusing on checking off each element of the perfect post, think about what you have to say that is honest, unique, and needed.

A 5 minute timed writing exercise can really help loosen your mind and get you ready to write.

Have you heard of Natalie Goldberg? She’s written lots of books about developing a writing practice.

The goal behind writing practice is to get to know your own unfiltered mind. It can be hugely helpful when you’re staring at the blank screen, worrying about what to write about.

Here are the 7 rules:

1. Keep your hand moving.

2. Lose control.

3. Be specific.

4. Don’t think.

5. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or grammar.

6. You are free to write the worst junk in the world.

7. Go for the jugular. (Meaning, write what hurts, write what is hard.)

The rules of writing practice

Why these rules? Because they let you cut through the resistance, ignore your internal editor, and just write.

So if you’re struggling to write today, try these 5 minute timed writing exercises (and follow Natalie’s rules)

I really want to write about…

I have lots of blog topics saved to write about, but sometimes, I just don’t feel like writing about them. Or I may want to choose a different one than I had planned for, because that’s the one that speaks to me in the moment.

When you write to what you’re drawn to in this moment, your post will have more power behind it. Try this: Write, I really want to write about…and complete the sentence. Then set a timer for 5 minutes and write whatever comes up.

Right now, I feel…

Your feelings hold a lot of power. And people will connect with your blog if it’s driven by genuine emotion. Focus on your feelings about the topic you’ve chosen.

Start by writing, Right now I feel… and then go for it. Don’t let yourself stop typing for the next 5 minutes.

When all else fails, imagine a reader and start writing.

Imagine your ideal reader sitting down to read your post. What does she need to learn today? (Or, if you haven’t created a reader, imagine what you would want to read.)  Then set a timer and write for 5 minutes without stopping. Write whatever comes up.

Once you’ve done your 5 minutes, take a deep breath and look over what you’ve written.

Don’t judge it for the quality of the writing. Instead, focus on the thread of thought running through it. Then write about that for your blog post today. Or just let it guide you.