Is it possible to be a writer, but to hate writing?
For years I was at war with my writing process. Even with a book deal from a major publisher, I struggled with the daily act of writing. I added up my daily word count like an inmate counting days until freedom.
Shoulders hunched, neck scrunched, eyes burning, body stiff and tight, I chained myself to my chair until I’d reached my daily word count minimum.
Email, social media, my son forgetting his lunch… distractions came as a welcome relief, but made returning to the page afterwards even more difficult.
With each book I wore myself and my body down a little more, until finally, I developed a shoulder injury that made any time at the computer painful.
It’s anguish to know you’re a writer in your bones when writing feels like an act of violence against yourself.
Battle weary, injured, and with the same clear instructions from three health professionals, step away from the computer, I had to ask myself: Do I stop?
Defeat and surrender don’t always mean you’ve lost. They can also mean you’ve been given an opportunity to find a new way through.
And so, I started to explore a new way.
Instead of, how do I get this done? I asked, how do I actually enjoy the process?
How do I write without hurting my body? Even better — how do I write and heal my body at the same time?
How can I get my work done, and actually enjoy it?
Was all this even possible?
For the past four years, I’ve become a student of my own process. I ignored a whole lot of standard writing advice and experimented with my own way.
I asked big questions. I adjusted the variables in my environment, my attitude, my caffeine levels, my methodology.
I don’t have a writing chore anymore. I have a writing lifestyle. The writing part of my day is relaxed, fulfilling and no longer hurts my body.
In this time I’ve also completed two novels and started two businesses. For me, this is evidence that enjoyment and productivity do not need to be mutually exclusive, but you do need to bring them together. And I can show you how.
Through my writing coaching I help other writers take the battle out of their writing time, too. New writers and experienced writers. Writers who’ve always said they would get started on that book ‘someday’.
I won’t teach you my process; I’ll help you to find your own.
Deryn Collier is the author of The Bern Fortin novels Confined Space and Open Secret, both published by Simon & Schuster Canada. Originally from Montreal, she is a graduate of McGill University. After a very short career as a federal bureaucrat she ran away to the mountains of British Columbia, where she has been for over twenty years. She lives in Nelson, BC with her husband, sons and cats.