Balancing Act for Writers

Do you ever feel like you are standing on an unsteady surface trying to balance what’s in your heart versus what’s in your brain? I know you do! I can’t be the only who feels this way sometimes. I believe this balancing act is especially tricky for writers because we deal with matters of the heart (emotions) in our writing and we also think (analyze and create) while we’re writing. Some of us have a demanding internal editor looking over our shoulder and we need to find ways to keep that editor away while we’re spilling our hearts out. I say, shake that editor off and keep going… keep writing. Who was it that said write with your heart and edit with your brain? I don’t remember, but these are wise words. They suggest a great way to keep your balance.

balancing act for writers by Victoria M. Johnson

Photo by John Salvino

I teach writing classes a few times throughout the year and one thing I impress upon my students is the idea of not censuring the muse and completely freeing their creativity. They accomplish this by giving themselves permission to write a crummy first draft. It takes practice but eventually they stop editing as they create. It’s a wonderful thing to get to that point and results in deep explorations, wonderful surprises, and more writing. Of course our first drafts need editing eventually, but the brain can work that out later. In your first drafts let the heart say what the heart wants to say. It’s a balancing act that we as writers can learn and enjoy rather than struggle with.