By Annmarie Miles
Do you remember the first flush of love? When you realised this was it! This was the one for you. You had found your love, your reason for living… writing. They were beautiful days, those early ones, weren’t they?
You ran to meet your pen or laptop. You would not be late, and would have to be torn away from the page to deal with far less tantalising tasks… like feeding the kids or cleaning the oven. You made sure you were suitably attired with matching accessories: pretty notebooks, a pair of cute but comfortable pens, and a couple of books from your TBR pile to dip into when in need of inspiration.
Ah yes, young love. Such bliss.
I can safely say I’m married to writing now and, like my husband (bless ‘im), there are days when writing gets my scraggy pony tail, faded tracksuit bottoms and an absent-minded hug while eating toast and checking my phone. Not that I’m not committed to my writing, I am. But like in every relationship, I have to work at always paying attention and giving it my best.
I remember thinking that I’d never ever NOT want to write. Then a journalist friend of mine warned me of a day that would come. “The fridge will have to be cleaned or the ironing done. You’ll do anything, so as not to have to wrestle with that story that’s driving you mad. Or maybe you need to defrost the freezer, even that will be better than reading something for the 20th time because you know it needs more editing.” I nodded graciously, all the time inwardly thinking how sad it was that she did not love her craft anymore.
Her words came back to me the day I had two articles due in, and I felt a sudden urge to reorganise my DVDs. They’re sorted by genre, and A-Z now. Might colour-code them next time…
I suppose in some ways it’s a mark of maturity. Time to get serious. Time to love your WIP, even when you don’t like it.
So my top tips for fluffing up the cushion of love for your writing are…
· Read something you wrote ages ago and loved – I read old blog posts and/or a couple of short stories and I love my writing again. It restores my confidence in myself and also shows me how far I’ve come.
· Ask another writer for feedback – when someone who hasn’t read the piece you are frustrated with gives you some edits or suggested changes, it’s a breath of fresh air. Quite often, because it’s good and they’ve read it for the first time, it’ll remind you why you wrote it.
· Start something new – free-write your frustrations, start a new blog post, go online and look for a random writing prompt. Whatever it takes to get you going again.
· Go for a walk in the fresh air or listen to some music – I find if I engage my ears and eyes in something different for a while, it renews my enthusiasm.
Writing is a love affair that doesn’t end. Keeping a spark in the relationship takes some effort though. Even the most temperamental of muses can be wooed with a little affection.
Annmarie Miles is from Dublin in Ireland, now living in Kildare. After 5 years of non-fiction blogging about her Christian faith, her thoughts turned to creative writing and she started writing fiction in 2012. ‘The Long & The Short of it’, her first collection of short stories, was published in 2013; a self-publishing project using the services of Emu Ink. Find out more at www.annmariemiles.com