Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Remembering Your First Love: The Amateur Writer

When writers fall out of love with the habit of writing, it may be because we've forgotten our first love.

Whether or not a writer is published, or has been published recently, there’s a sense in which all writers should retain an amateur standing. The word amateur can mean anything from one who has a taste for something to a lover of something. It can also mean a dabbler, as opposed to a professional. Regardless of a writer’s status, all writers are, in this sense, continual amateurs, because we’re always learning from other writers and ourselves.

While there are almost as many reasons as there are writers to stop loving the craft and art of writing, one way to squeeze the love out of the relationship is to let it become more about obligation than discovery and joy. We start focusing on what we have to do or should do, and all by deadlines, often self-imposed, that often get pushed further and further into the future the harder we try to meet them.

Regardless why the love has been lost, one way to rekindle it is to take the pressure off. Open a page and write. Even if the process begins largely with lament, at least the words are there. Reawakening the real pleasure of writing often comes afterward, from tinkering with the words and discovering new methods of expression, even in a grousing journal entry well-written.

What’s keeping you from your love of writing?