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Lazy Writing and a Headful of Questions

On the Luxury of Journaling

Many mornings, of late, I roll out of bed around nine thirty or ten, after hours of lazy writing.

It’s relatively new to me, to spend so many hours lying in bed, recording my dreams, dialoguing with dream characters and journaling, followed by–sometimes–working on one of several books in process.

Minutes, perhaps. An hour, perhaps. But two? Three? Even four?

Sometimes I delight in what I’ve written. A recent dream took place in a noir industrial setting where a boiler exploded. I spent several hours dialoguing with dream characters in my journal, including the boiler. A Greek chorus showed up in the middle of my dialogue.

I kid you not.

Song lyrics. Rants. Explosions.

It feels exhilarating to engage so deeply with one’s creative process.

Yet, it’s also hard to refrain from judging myself. It’s not like I’m writing a musical that people are going to come see. Is this Greek chorus purely for me? And is it okay if it is?

Can I trust that by journaling and journaling and journaling for hours that I am actually producing something worthwhile? Or can I let go of producing and just be, experience, allow?

That last idea seems almost subversive to me. Can I allow it? Am I still a good person if I indulge in this?

Note to self: Ask Kate Hanley, author and podcaster of How to Be a Better Person! She’ll know!

Let’s Be Real: The Truth

Okay, the truth is: you and I do know that listening to the muse, being creative, playing…all these things nurture us, so we can, in turn, truly be the gift to the world that we are meant to be.

And it’s okay to be a gift to ourselves at times, too. We don’t need to justify our existence, amiright?

I could ask, “Why do we do that–believe we need to justify our existence?” but maybe that’s not the most affirming question to ask. Maybe the best thing is to witness this desire to be good or normal or productive or well-behaved and then make a more empowering choice–yes, to lie in bed and write and not worry whether any of this will ever be read by anyone but me.

There are times to write for an audience and there are times to be your own reader, your own audience. To write for you!

Losing Voice and Lazy Writing


Many days I turn to one of my book projects and the voice just isn’t coming out right lately. I wonder whether I’ve lost the magic of that particular book. Should I even bother?

In those moments I recall the advice of a client’s inner muse who told her that much of her writing will be a sloughing off in the beginning. She’ll get at the real writing eventually but the sloughing off is part of the practice. You can’t skip it. I feel the truth of that in my own practice.

There is so much to explore and discard, to release, to make room for the deeper wisdom and the beautiful words that will come eventually.

So much of my lazy writing–what I write in that journal, even when I’m working on the book–will never see the light of day. Nor should it. Am I okay with that? Are you?

Is it okay to work for hours every day on this inner work and exploration? Can we permit ourselves to write without knowing where it’s going? To write for the love of writing and words and dreams and symbols and quirkiness and pure pleasure?

Is it okay to seek, without knowing exactly what we seek? To allow ourselves to explore and discover and be surprised by our lazy writing?

Time as Currency or Current?

The answers may seem obvious but it’s not always easy in our hyper-productive culture to allow for our inner truth when it comes to how we spend our time. Even the term “spend” our time has implications of the “value” of time, time as currency.

Perhaps time is more current than currency. To be current, as in present, allows us to be carried on this current of creative flow as we drift through time.

And, really, when we’re creating, doesn’t time seem to stop and life feel timeless in those moments of flow?

There’s no right way and wrong way to write a book–or any other project. And there are millions of choices along the way. Just choices.

I’ve helped people write extraordinary and award-winning books based on very detailed outlines and writing schedules. I’ve also helped people write inspired and inspiring books in more meandering ways.

The former can be quicker, for sure. Yet, it’s most important to listen to your inner guidance and see what it needs–now, today, this moment. Trust your process. Even if it means lazing in bed and sloughing for a while.

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Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award & Independent Publishers (IPPY) Award

The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jane Haynes says

    This really made me think. I agree 100%. It’s true what they say, that the best way to become a writer is to write, any how, any way!

    Write something and you can always edit it into something better. Or it will inspire other ideas that you might prefer.

    The technique also works for writer’s block. Just start somewhere and you’ll eventually get to where you think you should be.

    I’ve worked as a copywriter — writing advertising, public relations, grant proposals and other marketing communications — since the late ’70s. One of my early employers (mentor!) identified that the middle part of what I wrote was typically the best part. Realizing this was true, I was able to do my assignments more effectively —starting in the “middle” and waiting to write my intros, headlines and subheads until the rest is drafted. This works for my personal writing (Haiku poetry and the beginnings of a sci-fi/fantasy novel) as well.

  2. Victoria says

    I love this Lisa! It reminded me of the freedom and permission I felt in one of your classes when I was writing my first book.

    Yes, done is better than perfect and the point of writing is . . . writing. Too many rules, regs, or other people’s ideas about what is right and what is wrong kill the creative soul and spirit.

    Thank you.

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