Why I Write: Reflections On Almost A Decade Of Daily Writing

Why I Write: Reflections On Almost A Decade Of Daily Writing

I

love to read about creative process. Few subjects are as intriguing to me. With that in mind, I noticed that sweet babeling Grace Quantock tagged me in this series about Why I Write. I don’t normally do this kind of thing… But this is such a fun subject that I couldn’t resist.

Hopefully, if you’re also interested in taking a peek behind the creative scenes, this will be enjoyable to read!


WHAT AM I WORKING ON?

Maybe a better question is, what am I not working on?! I tend to have a few projects on the go at any one time. I have always been a little bit like that. I like variety.

I am working on publishing Love And Sequins, and turning it into a very real, very tangible book. (I have some more news on that front, too. Stay tuned!)

I am editing, finessing, and beautifying Radical Self Love Bootcamp ahead of its relaunch in January. I created it back in 2011, and now I’m giving it an enormous revamp so that it is even more powerful. Radical Self Love Bootcamp is a a 6-week online course that shows you, step-by-step, how to transform your view of the world… And yourself. I’ll be opening it up for pre-order soon!

I am always working on blog posts and Radical Self Love Letters. I just created big, beautiful pages for Radical Self Love Bible School and DARE/DREAM/DO. And I have a whoooooole lot of copy to write for The Blogcademy.

This has been a crazy year. I have been planting a lot of seeds. I feel like 2015 is going to be really, really big. I’m ready.


HOW DOES MY WRITING DIFFER FROM OTHERS IN ITS GENRE?

There are a lot of people who do self-help, who write about self-love, who encourage others to dream big and live fearlessly. And thank god for that, because we all need to hear it.

So how is my writing different? I really and truly walk my talk. I transformed my life through applying radical self love concepts to my life, and in fact, that change was what gave me the courage to start my blog. Over the course of a few months in 2006, I morphed from a depressed girl with a serious eating disorder to one who was in love with life. When my boyfriend and I moved to Australia, I decided to pour my newfound lust for life into this blog. Of course, it was only a matter of time until I started to write about the metamorphosis I had gone through!

My writing is full of love and encouragement, but it has a serious undercurrent. I find excuses embarrassing, and believe every single one of us should be living up to our full potential. I abhor bullshit and value getting to the point. I dislike fluffy theory and I respect solutions, which is why my work is peppered with real, actionable ideas.

I believe in magic, in personal style, in self-expression. All of these facets of my life mix with my message of radical self love to make it fun, liberating, and super-powerful.

Why I Write: Reflections On Almost A Decade Of Daily Writing


WHY DO I WRITE?

Put simply, I write because I have to. My first real memory is of writing a story at the kitchen bench, and I never really stopped.

I wrote all through school, both in online journals which got me in trouble, and in an embarrassingly large number of diaries which now languish at my parents’ house. When I started working, I would write on the bus there and back, and on my lunch break. I would go to evening writing classes just to keep myself busy. I studied for a Diploma in Publishing while working in yet another soulless job.

But mostly I write because I wish that there had been something like this for me when I was going through my long dark night of the soul. Because I know that sharing my story helps others see that their life can be so much better. Because I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to share whatever helped them.

It would just be plain WRONG not to share one of my favourite Bukowski poems here.

so you want to be a writer?
Charles Bukowski

if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
fame,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.

if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.

Why I Write: Reflections On Almost A Decade Of Daily Writing


HOW DO I WRITE?

I write first thing in the morning. It’s when I’m most clear-headed. I wake up, light a candle, focus my intention, and get cracking.

As I write, I go back and forth between a few different locations: my desk (white lacquer, currently holding a Filofax full of rainbow paper, a bottle of Triple Rose Elixir, a huge chunk of amethyst, and a vase with boobs holding purple roses), my couch (this one, covered in rainbow sequin pillows), and the kitchen table (the wall is covered in polka-dots, meticulously measured and placed by my love).

And when I’m feeling stifled or rife with cabin fever, I take my MacBook Air and go to a coffeeshop. I am almost always more productive in a cafe than at home.

I often write on airplanes and sitting in airport lounges. In fact, some of my most lucid pieces have happened either on a plane or while waiting for one. There’s something special about any place where you can be alone, and yet surrounded by people. Somehow it creates an extremely fertile creative environment. There’s just enough stimulus and movement to keep your brain active, but no interruptions so you can stay focussed. I don’t know how to explain it, but I find it very satisfying.

I use a program called TextWrangler to write. It gives you the ability to have dozens of documents open at once and simply tab between them, so it’s perfect for me and my project juggling. (A sampling of the documents I have open right now: carousel.txt, galadarling.txt, quotes.txt, RSLbootcamp.txt, RSLL365.txt, theblogcademy.txt.) I don’t use any other apps for writing. When I have ideas and thoughts on the go, I simply email them to myself.

I do most of my planning in my Filofax. I need to be able to scribble, mind-map, and contain everything in sections.

I’ve experimented with a lot of systems over the years. I always end up going back to something simple. A system doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.


HOW DO I GET PAST WRITER’S BLOCK?

December 16th 2014 will mark eight years of galadarling.com, which is almost a decade of writing every single day. Even if I don’t manage to post every day, I still write every day. The only times I haven’t been able to do that was when I was insanely sick with strep, or that time I was in NYC and broke up with my boyfriend who was in Australia, and I had to go back and move all my stuff to New Zealand, before returning to NY. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

How do you define writer’s block? To me, it’s sitting down and being physically unable to put words on the page. Based on that definition, I’ve never had writer’s block. I can’t recall a time where I sat down and had nothing to say. Sometimes I think, ‘I could write about this but it bores me’, but that’s not really the same thing.

I have, of course, experienced periods of burn-out and boredom. When that happens, I do two things. Firstly, I take a damn break. Let’s be real: the world will not come to an end if I don’t post something on my blog for a few days. I take a little rest from social media. I go for more walks and read a few books. Secondly, while I’m having a break, I tend to come to the conclusion that I’m bored because I haven’t challenged myself in a while. I pick a challenge, and head in that direction!

Maybe a better question is, what keeps me motivated? My motivation is that I want to continue working for myself for the rest of my life, and even the bad days of self-employment are a hundred times better than the best days of working for someone else. When I view it through that lens, choosing to push on through, to evolve, grow, and transform both myself and my business is the easiest thing in the world.


I PASS THE BATON TO…

I never really expect anyone to do these… But I’d love to hear how Alexandra Franzen, Esmé Wang, and Danielle LaPorte do it. (Who wouldn’t?!) And of course, you are welcome to take these questions and answer them too!

Inky kisses,

Images by Shell De Mar.

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