Productivity Tip – Make Your Writing Play, Not Work

Cuz when it becomes work instead of the thing you want – or need – to do more than anything else in the world, hey, you’re not gonna do it. Happens every time:

On-Treating-Writing-as-a-Form-of-Playby Eli Glasman

For years before my novel was published, I felt insecure about whether or not I was a ‘real’ writer. I don’t think this is a unique anxiety amongst unpublished authors and I responded to this anxiety in the way I think many people do: I romanticised the act of writing.

I told myself that the burden of writing fiction was thrust upon me and I had no choice but to sit each night and delve into the unknown to produce works of genius. Writing like this didn’t flow easily for me. And as a result, it was hard to read. The prose were pretentious and calculated. It was clear that everything I wrote was me begging the reader to think of me as a genius.

I told myself that if it was easy to write it meant that it wasn’t any good. Good fiction needed to be sweat over. If it was hard, it meant I’d worked at it and it was worthy.

This attitude to writing was one I’d been carrying around in my head since I was a kid. On my weekends and days off, I wrote all day. It was all I thought about. I’d obsess over the stories, especially the syntax, running through sentences over and again in my head until I’d memorised them.

I have a habit of over analysing myself, but I think I obsessed over writing as a childish way to simplify things, as I was not in an emotional position to take on the complexities of life.

It felt safer to focus on this alone, as it meant I didn’t need to focus on many of the pressures we all face, such as finding a job and becoming financially independent, or worrying about the things that may have been more specific to me, such as the Crohn’s Disease and my recent decision to no longer remain an orthodox Jew.

As I’ve spoken about previously on my blog, when I started socialising and earning my own money, I found that writing didn’t need to take on the task of carrying my entire sense of self and keeping at bay my anxieties. I felt more comfortable with my life and could relax and have fun with my writing.

As a result, my writing immediately improved, because I was treating it as what it really was, which is a form of play. In not romanticising it, I could allow myself to be crap for a little while and acknowledge that it was something I needed to learn to do, rather than some pure expression that flowed flawlessly through me.

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Fear or Faith – Notes on Creativity and Courage

It takes courage to be creative. The more creative we allow ourselves to be, the more we put our fragile psyches at risk. Do you have what it takes to accept the challenge?

Booksigningby Sherry Campbell Bechtold

Faith or Fear.

I heard recently that every choice we make in our lives is made based on one of two things: Faith or Fear. Consider this….you get an idea in your head about something you might want to do. You may dismiss it immediately because its energy just isn’t enough to merit further thought. But, then there are those ideas that just keep rolling around in your head – the ones that won’t go away. A time for choice is close. You can choose to act on it or not. Choosing to NOT act is something we do all the time, and that choice is often based on Fear. Fear of failing. Fear of looking stupid. Fear of change. Fear of losing something, someone. Fear of the unknown. Fear of leaving our comfort zone. The list of Fears is endless.

The choice to act on your idea is one of Faith. Faith that no matter what happens, you will handle it. Faith that even if you “fail”, you will have learned something. Faith that if you lose something, someone, you will also find. Faith that we will establish a new comfort zone.

At a young age, I was forced to make this same choice – cling to a toxic situation, even though it was what I knew, or make a drastic change, having the faith that I would be better off, whatever might happen. Perhaps it was at that moment that I established my “modus operandi”….

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How to Stay Motivated


This dude’s name is James Victore, and a lot of people of our acquaintance swear by him.

Which isn’t the same as how they deal with, erm, us, which is swear at us.

James Victore knows stuff and shares it on YouTube.

Cuz he’s…well, you know, motivated.

And what he says is helpful as hell:

YouTube Preview Image

Fear and Loathing in the TV Writer’s Room

This guy’s definitely got it right. Doing the TV writing thing is a real bitch – and it gets more stressful the higher you climb. Aaargh!

Betcha still want to do it, though. Are we right? Huh? Anyway:

by David Silverman, MA, LMFT

“The TV industry is uglier than most things.  It is perceived as a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.”

Hunter S. Thompson, fromGeneration of Swine:  Tales of Shame and Degradation in the 80?s. 

writers-bloc-chick-dub-225x188Hollywood careers can lead to isolation, especially writing, which is essentially a lonely job, staring at a computer screen, crafting scenes, a story, and dialogue that doesn’t entirely suck.

Staring at a computer screen all day, facing the blank page,  writers  can easily become frustrated, resentful, and even depressed.

Normally in the world of the half-hour TV comedy a writer gets two weeks to write a first draft of a script. On “Dilbert,” the TV series that satirized “cubicle life”, we would have story meetings on Friday nights.  Once a story had been broken, the writer was sent off to write the sixty page script and turn it in the next Monday morning.

Two days!?   Panic set in.  After 48 hours of writing, judgment was passed on the script by the producers.  If the producers hated it, you had to deal with the rejection and worry about your job, too. If you’re lucky, and they liked it, you got a shot at doing the next rewrite.  Add job insecurity and rejection to the list.

I won’t deny all these stressors had an impact on me. At various times, I was depressed, anxious, fearful, frustrated, and just about lost even caring about writing at all.

On one show, the writers were treated so badly,  when the producers finally told the writing staff we were cancelled, I said “Thank God,” out loud.

How do you cope with all these issues while you’re trying to write? Let’s take isolation. Isolation can be dealt with in various ways. If you’re on a staff show, you can set smaller writing goals, and when you’ve accomplished them, go to lunch with the other writers. At least you’ll feel like you’re part of a group.

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Do You Really Want to Write?

Is success as a writer (in any medium) worth all you have to give up in order to get it? Here’s a thoughtful answer to just that concern:

"a moment of despair" by fantaasiatoid" on Deviant Art

“a moment of despair” by fantaasiatoid” found on Deviant Art

by Rita Karnopp

So you’ve received a rejection letter – and you’re in the middle of writing yet another book. Suddenly you’re in the slumps and wonder if all this work and upset is worth it.  You stop writing – and now you just don’t feel like going back to your office and continue with your work in progress.

Hmmm . . . sound familiar?  It’s not an easy profession, is it?  We have our highs – and oh so many lows.  It’s not easy to receive a rejection letter on one of our books.  It’s deflating.  It’s frustrating.  It’s depressing.  Yet, after you cry, throw a tantrum, crumple the rejection letter and toss it in the trash – you take a deep breath – and ask yourself – “Should I keep writing – or quite?”

I’ll bet everyone who has written a book, whether published or not, has asked themselves that very question.  It’s hard work to be a writer.  Life has a way of pulling at us – whether fun or work – and it take determination, fortitude, self-discipline, and most of all passion to be a writer.

So back to the ultimate question; do you really want to write?  It’s not all that easy to answer when you’re starting at a rejection letter.  Are you willing to give up the movies, TV shows, shopping sprees (great way to save money), and other activities that take up your time.

Having said that, I don’t think you have to give up anything – time management is the key.  But we still haven’t answered the question; do you really want to write?

You heard me say it before, and I’m going to say it again.  I write for me, no one else.  I’d dream of seeing my name on the cover of my book for years – and it seemed like nothing more than a dream.  When I was brave enough to share that dream with others (besides my husband – who believes I can do anything I set my mind to), most people reacted as though I’d lost my sense of reasoning.  A mother of two, holding down a full-time job and sometimes another part-time job just to make ends meet – had no right to consider the possibility of becoming a published author.

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