Write What You Want: A Simple Meditation

Write what you want. We’ve all heard this, and it seems so simple. Write what you want to write. I try to live by this, but somehow, I keep getting distracted by those shiny new submission calls. They catch my eye like a pink diamond in a jewelry store. I see them, and think “hey, I can write something for that.” There’s that voice inside me I cannot silence that says, “go for it, it’s a chance to be published again.” But just like that shiny pink diamond, it’s always just out of my reach – at least it is for me and here’s why.

When I force myself to write material geared towards a particular theme, I lose the joy of writing. I start focussing more on writing in a particular style, one that doesn’t come naturally, and I become consumed with counting my words as I go, trying to meet that minimum word count. Often I’m not writing material that I enjoy or have a connection with – that shiny new submission suddenly becomes dull, heavy, and the bane of my existence. I lose the one thing that brings me to the page – the fun of writing.

The chance to be published again, which is what all us writers want, is all well and good, but I’m learning (or more accurately I keep re-learning) that when I force myself to write something that’s not really in my heart, I will ultimately fail. The goal is for me to keep working on the projects that fill my soul. And it’s okay if I don’t have them ready at the exact moment a submission call goes out. If I continue to work on them, in my own time, they will be ready for a future call.

I’m learning patience in my writing. Not just patience, but to find my own voice in my material, and to honour it. Recently I attended a marvelous writing retreat and we spent the afternoon writing with the aid of a meditation guided story tool. In that afternoon, I was not thinking about deadlines, wordcounts or subject matter, I was writing a story from my heart. And I came out of that afternoon with just over 2000 words. Imagine what I can do if I simply let go of the expectation to submit and publish and write what I want.

I think I’ll go find out – I’ll let you know how it goes.

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About me

J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.