Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Find Other Joys That Don't Include Words

One of the many berries that grow in my yard.
Yesterday, instead of heading out in my garden like I usually do, I sat down with a sweet young writer to give her some tips about the publishing industry and all the different paths out there. It was a great talk, but I found myself restless and cranky the rest of the day.

I couldn't put my finger on why—and then I went out in the warm evening to weed one of my many garden boxes. It was the peas' turn to get cleaned out from all the little grass and weed buds growing in their territory.

As I picked away, the tension I'd been holding all day dissolved. So that was the answer: I hadn't been out in the garden.

It's becoming a habit, a much-needed balm, for me to send my kids off to school and then march myself out to my yard to work. I prune and weed and plant. I tend to my chickens. Listen to music. Absorb that inexplicable peace a person gains from being outside in nature.

None of it is easy (especially being now 6ish months pregnant), but there's something about this work that orients my soul each day. It gives me time to think away from a computer screen. It makes me feel ridiculously accomplished. I get a great workout. And at the end of the work comes delicious things to eat!

This is all to say: It never hurts to have other things in your life that aren't writing. While I love making stories, that work is dependent on having something to write about. Some of the best things I've done for my writing don't have to do with writing at all—they have to do with long breaks, learning news things, and living a life that is more than the words I put on the page each day.

So if you find yourself struggling to write, don't be afraid to...stop for a little. Don't be afraid to invest in other aspects of your life. They will all come back to helping with the books. I promise.


  1. I can see how gardening would be soothing. Well said!

  2. Weeding my garden has a similar effect for me.

  3. This is such good advice. Often when I'm feeling negatively about my writing or writing as a profession, I find myself turning to other outlets like drawing. It helps me a lot to see something physical on the page that I've made and love, as opposed to my writing which can be much... trickier to love at times.