Refilling the Well

Writing is exhausting at times. Though the best stories appears to be effortless when viewed from from the outside, creating a work of fiction requires a significant investment of mental energy. Without the drive to push through exhausting hours of planning, of drafting, and redrafting, a writer would never be able to complete anything. It must be more than a hobby, it must be a passion.

However, beware the sweet lure of obsession. I’ve seen writers go too far the other way, pushing everything in their lives aside in the pursuit of a contract. They can become isolated, moving day jobs and relationships to the back burner. They can even lose sight of what is needed for their own mental and physical health. Though this sort of behavior can be understood in the short term, writing is a long term game. After five or ten years, the newly contracted writer may find themselves burned out and alone.

Not only must we maintain relationships with those who are closest to us, we need to constantly stretch our social circles and meet people who are different from ourselves. How else can we successfully write the other? We need to experience the highs and lows of love and loss to write them into our stories.

Not only must we exercise to keep our bodies in tune and our minds sharp, we must also seek new experiences to inspire our vision of not only this world, but also the worlds that exist in our own heads. Variety of experiences feeds imagination. Climb to the top of a mountain to see the view, visit the next town over to experience a slice of their lives, and face your fears so you know how to ensure that your characters can do the same.

Not only must we constantly strive to create new an interesting ideas, we must also consume the works of others. Writers were readers first. We are fans. It is our love for fandom that pushes us to add to the creative dialog. More than anything else, consuming good fiction inspires me to write.

It is not enough for authors to simply write, but we must also live. If we constantly draw from the creative well without giving ourselves the time to refill our reserves of mental and creative energies, we will eventually run dry.


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