My fellow bloggers here at Thinking Through Our Fingers do an incredible job of teaching craft, exploring a wealth of skills that help us become better writers.
Sometimes, I’m not so sure I have anything new to add. I honestly don’t feel qualified to teach anybody anything! I love to write. I’ve been pretty good at it ever since grade school. (I’m also terrible at cooking, sewing, yardwork, and almost every sport known to man.) When I set a goal to publish a middle grade novel, I made a choice never to quit before that goal became reality. It took about ten years, which seems pretty typical for a lot of writers working toward publication.
I just want to tell you guys that yes, it takes a ton of work and persistence, but please don’t drive yourself over the abyss trying to follow every single piece of advice out there. Sometimes the internet feels like a million voices yammering at me about all the things I should do or shouldn’t do—not just in regards to writing, but about what I eat and how I parent and what I’m allowed to wear after the age of 40—and don’t even get me started on the current political climate.
The noise has become deafening.
I saw a great quote online the other day, attributed to Nishan Panwar: “If you are tired of facing challenges in life, learn to rest, not to quit.”
Brilliant, right? And yet so simple.
Rest is essential for any long journey. It allows us to replenish our reserves of energy, to recommit to our goals.
Of course we all need physical rest. But often rest can come in the form of something as simple as silence. This can mean unplugging from the internet for a while, going for a walk, meditating, or even spending five minutes in a quiet room without distractions or demands.
Silence fosters inspiration. When I’m seeking a solution to a sticky plot problem, sometimes all it takes is time alone with my thoughts. Stillness, also, holds great power. Have you ever stood still in a crowded place, surrounded by the noise and motion of other people’s lives, and simply observed? Watching, listening, and just breathing? At the risk of sounding melodramatic, it’s…transcendent. It lifts you above, beyond, makes you see so many pressing problems as small and temporary.
In the journey toward publication, in the constant struggle that is life, be kind to yourself. The next time you feel tempted to give up—no matter what the goal—first give yourself a chance to rest and heal. The noise will still be there waiting for you when you get back, but you will be newly equipped to smile serenely and simply tune it out.
Growing up, Christine Hayes loved reading stories about creatures that curl your toes and legends that send a shiver down your spine. Now she loves writing about them, too. Her debut novel, MOTHMAN’S CURSE, was released in June 2015 through Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan. Christine seeks inspiration by haunting flea markets and estate sales, searching for cool vintage finds with a story to tell. While earning her degree in music she visited Asia for the first time, and later moved there with her family for several years. She has been addicted to travel ever since. Christine and her clan now live in northern Utah. Find her online at www.christinehayesbooks.com.