It’s that time of year again—blustery days, icy mornings, and colorful leaves drifting through the air. Oh—and novel writing time.
As October is blowing into November, writers everywhere are battening down the hatches and preparing to hunker down and pound madly away at their keyboards for thirty days in hopes of reaching 50,000 words. Maybe you’re part of that crew. If so, I’ve got valuable information for you.
Writing is hard.
Staring at a blank page waiting for words to come is one of the most grueling and disheartening experiences. It’s maddening.
Of course, you already know that. You’re a writer. This is your job. The real question is—how do you overcome this mind-numbing roadblock and get productive?
I’ve talked before about how creativity—the thirst of our souls for wonder and beauty—is a part of us all. It’s something we were born with; something we connect to in our innermost beings. The magic of imagination is not just the talent of a few, as we sometimes tell ourselves, but in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “[It is] the health of every man.”
Did you get that? Imagination is health. Health. And not just for those people we refer to as “creatives”, but for everyone. Something we often write off as a pastime or a mere hobby is actually critical to our mental wellbeing. And not only that—creativity is absolutely vital to personal development and growth for several reasons. When we neglect to foster it, we don’t mature.
I’m not a journaler. I’m not good at it, and I feel like I never have enough time to sit down and write thoughtfully about my day. Usually, I prefer to spend my time on other things (like writing blog posts and stories. You know, stuff like that). Maybe you feel the same.
I’d read about the benefits of keeping a journal, and tried off and on to do it, but it never stuck. Then I stumbled across the concept of Bullet Journaling. I’ll be honest—at first this concept intimidated me. It looked overwhelmingly complicated, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep up with it. But I decided to give it a shot, and so far, I’m loving it—and I’ll tell you why.
I haven’t done a book review in awhile, but Salt to the Sea deserves one. What follows will be spoiler-free, so fear not, friends, and read on.
I’ve talked several times on here about why reading is a great pastime, and why you should read more books. But if you only read one book this summer, it should be this one. And should you survive the journey, there are always other books to continue on with.
We of the 21st century live incredibly cluttered lives. We’re busy, scattered, and often exhausted, trying to keep up with the commitments in our lives, whether it’s work, school, or social engagements. Even when we do have free time, it’s often spent distracted.
We’re conditioned to live at a fast pace; constantly hustling, impatient, and strained. Free time, while important, feels indulgent. With various things competing for our attention each day, it becomes difficult to focus—and sometimes focus is exactly what we need.
In this culture, we’re okay with living small. We don’t like risks—especially if those risks may end up costing or hurting us. It’s scary to step out too far, so we rarely do. Living small is comfortable.
It’s difficult to break out of the mediocrity of small living: the comfort zone. Yet deep down, we long for more. For adventure. We thirst for a bigger purpose, and so we turn to stories.