The Writing Life: 4 Ways to Refocus


The writing life can be a lonely one. Well, it has to be, given that it is all about a person diving into their imagination on his or her own, and emerging with something coherent for the perusing pleasure of others. Other people tend to get in the way of the process, and one of the writer’s chief banes is ‘interruptions’. But the subjectivity of the whole thing can become burdensome. Many writers suffer from depression and anxiety, not only about their writing but about the state of their lives. In this scenario, it’s possible to lose one’s way and fail to maintain a grasp of why writing is important and what its purpose is for each individual.

If you’re struggling to overcome such obstacles in your life in order to write, here are some things which may help to refresh and revitalise you.

1. List what you love and connect the list up.

There will be some things in life that you absolutely love to do. Make a list of them. All of the things you enjoy doing are part of you and your ‘destiny’ in one way or another. Grab a pen and paper and start writing. Get clear on all foods, books, people, experiences, travel, and the things you love to do with your time. Then take a step back.

Can you connect these things up? They might not come together in any way that you were expecting, so be prepared for some surprises. If it helps, draw a diagram and link up things with lines. For example, maybe one of your favourite foods may be pizza eaten in a restaurant and perhaps your favourite restaurants are in Italy and your favourite author might be Umberto Eco - all Italian themed. Whatever the connections are, try and find them. The linkages may lead you to some interesting places.

2. Identify what you do easily.

What do you do in your everyday life with ease?

I don’t mean laundry. I mean those things which are so pleasurable that they are effortless. These things might be easy for you, but that doesn’t mean they are for everyone else. Identify what comes naturally to you. Perhaps you sing, or whistle; perhaps you dance or draw. One of them is probably writing, at least writing certain things.