Welcome to How to Keep Writing Wednesdays, where you'll find a boost of encouragement to help you keep the words flowing.

Surrender

I was going to suggest an “easing up” this week when I realized what was really called for was a full-on surrender.

That’s right. It’s time to give it up. 

No more pretending. No more putting yourself down. No more beating yourself up.

Just go ahead and throw up your hands. Surrender! It’s time to be honest with yourself. Throw out the thoughts that aren’t working and turn to the feelings that are. It’s time to ask yourself the questions that really matter. 

What do I really enjoy doing? Deeply? What feels joyful? What would I like more of in my life? How important is my own happiness?

When we read novels or memoirs, we are looking for clues in the lives of other people, fiction or real. How did they do it? How did they get through it? Then what happened? We are looking for assurances that, in the end, things somehow turn out okay, because we want no less in our own lives. In almost every story there is a lesson learned (or not) and we witness the consequences of the choices that are made.

We might roll our eyes at those “happily ever after” endings, but at the same time we recognize the appeal of a story tied up in a neat bow. Why not be happy, after all?

Writing is a way to explore the world. If you write fiction, you get to put characters in all sorts of situations and see how they act. You live vicariously through them. If you write life stories such as memoir or biographies, you get to see the world through the lens of your own experience or that of others. Writing—and reading—helps clarify life by reminding us that we are not alone.