From my writing desk’s window this morning, I see dull brown grass trimmed with splotches of melting snow, bare trees, and a gray sky. January is hardly the most inspiring time of year, at least not for those of us living in a seasonal climate. Yet that cold and boring outside has its upside: it can force us to get cozy, focus on our inner worlds, and nurture our relationships. There’s a reason why Valentine’s Day is smack in the middle of winter. We devote this time of year to re-kindling our passions with people; why not try to re-kindle our passion for writing as well?
Consider these suggestions for improving your relationship with your dearest love, Writing.
1) Take Writing on a date.
Relationship experts say trying fresh activities with your significant other increases feelings of connectivity. So why not take your WiP out for some fun? You could simply change up your writing location: if you usually work at home, try taking your laptop out to a coffee shop or a library. Or if you’d like to be a little more daring, try mixing it up with the writing itself. Take a scene and write it in a contrasting style, or introduce some new characters into the story and see how your WiP’s characters behave. You’re just having fun, so don’t worry about those experiments ending up in the final draft. (Although who knows?)
2) Think back to the start of your relationship
What inspired you to start writing in the first place? Maybe the roots began in childhood; think back to that time of life and remember the joy of writing for no one but yourself. What did you love to write about back then? What inspired you to write your current WiP? Pretend that you’re doing interviews after the project is over, and the interviewer has asked you where the idea came from. Let yourself get swept up in that initial rush of attraction and anticipation all over again.
3) Look ahead to your future
What’s next for you and your WiP? Do you have a dream for it that’s so big you haven’t even said it out loud? Do it. Say it out loud. Scream it into the wind. Sing it to yourself when you’re alone in the car. Make it into an anthem. Keep the dream alive with small moments of fierce hope and joy.
4) Buy Writing some bling
When was the last time you spent money on writing? (I’m looking at you, 2005 MacBook with the faulty power cord.) What would make your writing life just a teensy bit cushier? A new word processing program? An ergonomic desk chair? A pen that writes in the exact shade of magenta that you once loved from the 64 Crayola box? Buy your WiP a gift to show your love and commitment.
5) Give Writing some compliments
What do you love about your writing? Can you describe your own style to someone else? Make a list of the things you love about previous work. (This is easier than using your current work, because it’s hard to be honest about something you’re currently close to.) Save the list in an easily accessible place to give you and your writing a boost on a bad day.
6) Tell your friends how lucky you are to be in a relationship with Writing
Because writing is such solitary work, we tend to keep even our thoughts about it to ourselves. And yet we’ll willingly listen to our friends talk about their mountain biking, snowboarding or sculpting pursuits. Open up to your family about how much you love what you’re doing when you’re wrapped up in front of your computer for hours. Describe to them how every moment is precious to you, and you’ll start to feel it even more deeply for yourself. Bonus: maybe your kids will stop bothering you while you’re writing if they know just how important it is to you.
7) Figure out if you need more quality time, or even some space, from Writing
Every relationship rides waves of highs and lows. Sometimes you just need a few days away to get some perspective; other times you need to dive in further. Which is it just now? Make a note to take your writing relationship’s temperature every now and then, and adjust as needed.
You know what? I feel the fires burning already. Time to cozy up with Writing, the love of my life.
If you have other ideas for romancing your writing, share them with me!
Leanne Sowul writes historical/literary fiction and teaches music in the Hudson Valley, NY. She usually hates winter, but plans to embrace it this year with cozy clothes, extra books to read, cups of peppermint tea and daily romps with her WiP.
Connect with Leanne at her blog for writers, Words From The Sowul, via email at leannesowul(at)gmail(dot)com, or on Twitter @sowulwords.