Non-productive writing: This is writing that you do because you want to, not because you have to. As opposed to unproductive, which leaves the bitter taste of self-reproaches of laziness and writer’s block, Non-Productive Writing can actually build your self-esteem as it builds your skill set.
How many of us really take the time to just write some random bit of story or dialog that pops into our heads at inopportune moments? I know that for myself, I can get very rigid when it comes to my writing and unless I am working in furtherance of a manuscript, then I tend to try and push those floaty tidbits away.
Finding time to write isn’t always about hours in a day. It’s about finding the energy and the inspiration to express ourselves creatively after work, kids, news, stress, anxiety — after dealing with the fact that we live in a world that is in constant chaos. Not all of us can just put these things out of our minds. And we shouldn’t be expected to.
It’s been nearly a year since I wrote here, and there are multiple reasons for that — multiple excuses that I could come up with, but why? Why should I need an excuse for not expending *more* energy when I, and many others in this world, are already running at a deficit?
2020 has required a lot of us. All of us. It has shown us some very ugly things and I think it will take time to come to terms with much of it. I have tried to make changes that are for the better, no matter how small.
I have largely abandoned my social media accounts. There are various reasons for this, I think we all already know how damaging social media is (not *can be* IS) for our mental health. I have found some measure of peace living disconnected from the world. I still watch the news once in a while to keep up to date, but I watch it on the television, I don’t have it delivered via pop-up notification to my pocket.
I have stopped using journaling apps. I write my thoughts in a paper notebook or in a Scrivener file now. I was finding that aside from various niggling security concerns, all the colours and prompts and flashy gizmos were distracting me from the point of a journal in the first place: to be a place to get our thoughts out of our heads. I love pretty things as much as the next person (that’s why I write with a rose gold fountain pen), but sometimes all we really need is time and space.
My next step will be to try and disconnect in my brain the idea that all writing must provide a product. All writing most create something that can be commodified and sold. This is something I have struggled with all my life with just about everything I have enjoyed doing or been any good at — I still hear from friends and family, “You could sell that!” Like it is some magic pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Nothing kills my creativity faster than the idea that what I create must somehow be monetized.
But I digress, the point I was making was about creating a project for Non-Productive Writing. A project I could use to build skills, empty my brain, and just enjoy the act of writing and the process of creativity. My plan is to create a Scrivener document (sorry for the name dropping, but I paid $60 for the program, I’m going to use it in every possible way) to fill with writing prompts, skill builders (like writing a scene in 2nd person present tense), and creative brain dumps (like those little bits of random story that pop up in our brains that don’t belong anywhere, but are too good to discard).
I’m also going to let this blog sleep. I will write in it when I feel moved to, and I’m not going to feel bad about it.
Sometimes self-care is not doing the thing.