Writing and innocence

I had big plans for December. I read through a first draft of mine, scrawled down notes for editing, developed a structural editing plan and allocated a timeline for it. I was sorted, but I wasn’t ready.

Editing felt like a chore (or a race even). I had to have so many steps completed by a certain month otherwise the manuscript wouldn’t be ready for this conference or that competition. It took me a little while longer, but that’s when I realised that I’d lost my innocence for writing.

Perhaps it had to happen. It would be the rare person who has scored a writing career just from creative floundering and a bit of luck. Writers need to be both creative and logical to reach their goals, whether they’re searching for publication, an award or a greater readership.

However, writers also need innocence. They need to maintain that child-like curiosity to explore new worlds for the fun of it and that playfulness to allow stories to grow on their own. I think they need to create and write because the story is alive inside of them rather than because there is a competition or program deadline looming.

I’m not sure when my drive for hard work overtook my creativity, but it happened and I’m not comfortable with that. 2010 has been a big year for my writing (although it may not seem like it to those that don’t know me) and I’m a little worn and zombie-like. So to remedy this, I’ve decided to make December a writing-free month. Without writing, the amount of free time in my life has stunned me but I’ve been filling it with reading, resting and catch-ups with friends.

Merry Christmas everyone and have a Happy New Year! Here’s to a bright and shiny 2011.


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