My good friend (fellow writer and author) and I have been doing a lot of soul-searching in quarantine. Interestingly, we both had the same mindsets going in: “plenty of time to write, woo!” but each (on our own) have come to new realisations that have set us free…
Stop writing to publish…
As people who self-published years ago, we both have been subconsciously writing with the idea of publishing. That our story ideas were books in the making. This idea seemed fine…until it became our prisons.
Writing, for us, was our escape. Our vocation; something we loved. In the years gone by, that has changed. It became something we had to do. Something we forced each year. Something that we thought would save our lives and set us free by giving us a publishing deal and lots of money and the career of our dreams.
Those dreams have become a nightmare…
I won’t share too much of our personal ideas, revelations, and moments of clarity (that’s for us). Basically, we’re just taking back our power, winding back the clock, and finding our love for simply writing again.
Here is something I wanted to share in case you’re struggling with your writing too: My 2020 Writing Manifesto…
My 2020 Writing Manifesto:
• I give you permission to not think about publishing this year.
• Don’t call it a “book idea” or the “book I’m writing,” it is simply “a story you’re writing”, “a story idea.”
• Don’t get wrapped up in genre or age range or any marketing metrics.
• You don’t need to know a big plot in advance.
• You don’t need to think about series potential or what needs to be set up for later books in the series.
• I give you permission to not format your story in the “right way” i.e. chapters, proper word counts, margins, scrivener, spacing etc.
• I give you permission to not write in chronological order.
• I give you permission to let a character, world or magic system steal the driver’s seat – get curious and see where they take you.
• I give you permission to not restrict or force with a daily or weekly word count.
• To see writing as a spiritual, expressive, emotive experience again.
• I just want to see what happens when…
• Write what you want to write: this story or that one, a poem, a short, a script, a scene, an exercise, a blog post, a manifesto – it all counts, it’s all valid.
• I give you permission to write purely what you want to read; forget about a readership, the world, an audience. Don’t write with the fear of how it will be interpreted by others.
• I give you permission to keep what you’re writing a secret; you don’t have to prove you’re writing to anyone else.
• I give you permission to write something that will never be read.
• You will not compare anyone else’s work to your own.
• I give you permission to sit in a story and it’s world, explore ideas with curiosity, and not feel forced into turning it into something big.
• Writing is not your job, don’t treat it like one. Don’t burden your creativity with the idea that it has to save your life and make you money right now.
• This is a journey of self-discovery above all else.
• Writing is the home where you always belong; don’t destroy your home.
• Separate rules and craft from the creating and writing part. They require different hats. Writing should be sacred, beautiful, random, authentic, and then once that has ebbed and flowed, then craft and structure can come into play.
• Put yourself first when it comes to writing and creation.
• Let go of preconceptions: just surrender to the story as it manifests.
• Don’t write to fit a market or formula or what sells, like ever!
Quote from my friend, “Writing is supposed to be a deep and honest expression, not a business plan.”
I’ll update this as time goes on. I’ll probably try to write a “manifesto” every year to help guide me. Because our writing goals (like anything in life) may change year to year. Who we are and what we want or need will constantly change, too. And that’s okay.
Give yourself permission to set your own rules. Give yourself permission to write because you want to, not because you have to.