Sometimes we stop writing. That’s natural and part of the creative process. Sometimes we abandon projects for new ones, or take a break from creating because of comparison, life circumstances, mental health, or some harsh criticism.
One killer of creativity is comparison. If you compare yourself to others, then you will surely struggle to create anything because you’ll be too busy analyzing every word you write to see if it measures up.
If you must compare, compare yourself to your own writing, six months to a year ago. See how far you’ve come? If you continue to write regularly, you will only get better and better. Practice makes perfect and all of that, though no one is ever perfect. Anything worthwhile is worth putting the work in. They say it takes 10,000 hours to be good at something, so don’t should on yourself for how you think you should be doing. Have you put your 10,000 hours in yet?
Life circumstances, whether it be work, kids, a death in the family, chronic illness, or another such instance, impede writing. It’s okay to take some time off, but writing can be a great way for processing your emotions, especially when grieving over a loss of a relationship, person, situation, or what-have-you. Writing will always be there for you. And the more you learn to write despite these things, the faster you’ll finish your projects. But don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t want to break in the pursuit of writing. You come first, always. Know your limits.
Mental health is a huge factor when writing. Some days we just aren’t up to it. And that’s okay. It’s better to keep yourself healthy than have a breakdown because you forced yourself to do something you weren’t ready to do. But again, writing can act as a feelings processor and might help with your mental health. Try to figure out what works for you.
Harsh criticism is another creativity killer. But everyone receives this sort of thing. Harry Potter, one of the most world renowned book series ever, was rejected many times over. In the midst of harsh criticism, let yourself feel the feels, take a deep breath, and move on. Try to see if somewhere within the criticism there was a grain of something that could be improved. The more you write, work at, and practice your craft, the less likely you are to get harsh criticism. Just another reason to keep writing!
Writing is an important part of your life. If it weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Keep at it, keep working at it, keep reading craft books and learning about the industry, keep practicing, and you’ll get better. But you have to put in the work. Don’t expect to be good from the start, no matter how talented you are.