Well, hello there, February, month of all things love-related!
Last year, we spent this month working through daily prompts on how to love your writing life. So much fun! It was a big, month-long love party for writing. If you missed it (or just want a refresher!), check out those prompts.
This year, we're going to take a close look at one of the facets of love. And it's something that we need a bunch of in our writing lives.
I wanna talk about grace.
Specifically, I want to throw the doors wide, and welcome much more grace into our writing lives.
Grace is one of those simple-yet-big concepts, and it has a ton of different, valid uses. So, for this blog, and for our lionhearted writing lives, here's what I'm going to say it means:
Grace in the writing life means, we're not going to punish ourselves for being human. We won't beat ourselves up for learning.
Of course we'll work on the things that need more work. And we'll keep pushing ourselves. But grace means that we won't treat ourselves badly when we're learning or even when we're failing (which is just learning with a bang).
Grace means that you're allowed to be human. Normal. And learning is allowed to take the time it takes.
Grace brings kindness into our writing lives. It permits ease. It means not being so strict with ourselves, cutting ourselves off from joys (what Julia Cameron calls artistic anorexia), or glaring at ourselves when we don't hit certain marks of quality or status.
It means not saying nasty things about ourselves, our work ethic, our prospects, or our writing. Nope. No more.
This isn't to say that grace brings a lack of ambition. It doesn't mean giving up. And it definitely doesn't mean we stop growing.
It just means we don't use whips and kicks and anger and hatred for our motivation.
Grace says: You are okay, and the fact that you are working is good.
The results of that work might need a lot of revision. (In fact, that's a guarantee for me!)
But the fact that we are working (learning, falling, getting back up again, resting, playing, reading, learning some more)—that is good.
Oh, my friends. We need this kind of grace in our writing lives! In order to be writing at all, in order to keep growing, in order to survive writing blocks (or avoid some of them in the first place!).
Because without grace, we tend to lean on perfectionism, guilt, frustration, and beating ourselves up. Which can leave us not wanting to face our work at all.
Spoiler alert: Guilt and frustration are not inspiring.
And perfectionism? It sucks the life out of creativity. Also not inspiring.
And when we're so bruised by the voices in our heads that we don't want to face our work at all... well, not only is that not helping us, it's for sure creating a block between us and our writing.
More than a block. Probably a whole brick wall.
But when I apply grace—like, a ton of grace—when I pour it on my writing life like syrup on pancakes, that's what brings me back to the work.
Back to the deeply flawed draft. Back to what I'm learning.
It lets me have absolute permission to be myself. The exact level of writer that I am.
With my hands covered in grace, I can actually welcome mistakes as signs of life and movement, instead of as proof that there's something wrong with me.
Grace makes us resilient. Grace lets us keep going.
And because of that, it's one of the most powerful forces you can bring into your writing life.
So where are you at with grace? Does it already have an established place in your writing practice? Where are you already giving yourself grace?
Do you remember to ease up on yourself, to choose self-kindness over self-punishing? Can you let yourself be at the stage that you are?
Where do you most need grace these days?
And how else can you welcome it in, invite it deeper, and bake it into your schedule, your approach, your self talk?
What would your writing life look like, if you flooded it with grace?