Tuesday, June 21 is my birthday and I am breaking tradition. I am celebrating by writing gifts to myself. I know you are supposed to receive gifts from others and I will happily take them. I just wanted to do something a little different this year. After all the birthdays I have had, and there has been plenty. You got to spruce things up a bit and get a little more creative.
Now you may be asking, “What is a writing gift?” I am not talking about physical gifts like fancy or expensive writing pens or decorative writing paper. Not even cute little paperweights with witty writing sayings or slogans. Or a writer T-shirt with matching tote bag or coffee mug. What I am talking about are gifts that bring sparkle and joy to my creative process as a writer. These gifts are not covered in shiny paper and bows. Rather they are internal and part of the process of a writing life and routine.
1. Gift of calling myself a writer
No imposter syndrome here! Although I am currently not on the writing payroll, I do consider myself a writer. I am writing this post, aren’t I?
Publication and payment are not sole determinations of a true writer. Writing takes work, energy and perseverance but it is also fun and exciting.
Whether I get paid or see my byline writing is a gift. Not everyone can do it. Coming up with creative and interesting content, and writing compelling prose is a real talent. Nothing to sneeze at! The actual acknowledgement it matters is Honoring the time and talent to my craft.
Thinking of myself as a writer is a gift because half of the writing process is mental. I am the first person to make my work legit. If I don’t believe I am a writer then I can’t expect anyone else to believe it either.
2. Gift of time to write
My lifestyle affords me the time to write. I don’t have to squeeze it in between work and family. I don’t have to get up early before the kids wake up. I don’t have to leave my home for a quiet place to concentrate. I can write at any time I want. Morning, noon or night. I have even gotten spirts of writing inspiration in the wee hours of the morning. Booted up my computer and got to typing.
And because I am very organized I can plan and prepare in advance. Well, you know, as much as humanly possible. Things can come up unexpectedly. I can schedule my time, giving space for life, friends and social activities along with moments to write.
3. Gift of letting go
I am a perfectionist by nature and it comes out in my writing. I will ruminate over a piece of work, nick picking before pressing the submit or publish button. I am learning to let go and that this is a gift to myself. I don’t have control over how my work is received by others. I don’t have control if an editor will publish it or not. I don’t have control of reactions from a social media post. I can just control what I write on the page.
The ability to release and let go reduces stress and anxiety I didn’t even know I had. When I let go I can focus on the pure joy of writing.
4. Gift of boredom
Taking time away from writing to just sit and think about nothing is a gift. I do this in the A.M. while listening to the bird’s chirp outside or rain pelting across my windowpane. I just lay in the bed and do nothing. Letting my mind scatter, thinking of nothing in particular.
We all know, children get scolded for letting their minds wander, not paying attention or listening. But actually, in this situation, being a kid is a good thing. Mental musing is a gift . It allows the brain to recharge and helps creative ideas to flow naturally.
5. Gift of community
The writing life is typically solitary. Yet having a community of fellow writers is not competition but friendships that feed and nourish creativity.
Having others to “talk shop” builds connection and a sense of belonging. I am not alone and having others to converse with is a wonderful gift to myself. Every writer needs a friend who truly gets it without having to explain. Support one another through this writing life because we are all in it together.
6. Gift of saying no
Saying no is a powerful gift to myself. I have to prioritize what writing I am going to do. Do I have the time? The energy? The head space? The knowledge? Sometimes I want to be Super Woman and do it all. I don’t have to feel guilty or obligated to write a piece or take an assignment that doesn’t fit. Can you relate? I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I have looked over writing opportunities trying to decide if I should take the gig or not. Sometimes you find yourself compromising for the money, the opportunity, the prestige. Or fill in the blank. This is the time to weigh the cost and use the gift of saying no. It will free you for that yes coming around the corner.
7. Gift of saying yes
Understanding the powerful gift of saying no, leads to the time to say yes. I am imagining that moment when this amazing writing assignment comes to me out of nowhere. The one I have been waiting for and didn’t even realize it. The one I was a little shy and afraid of. This is when I will use my gift of saying yes.
What Are Your Writing Gifts?
These seven writing gifts are included in my self care regiment and writing toolkit. They are great reminders of who I am and motivate me to keep going. Now, that you know my writing gifts, what are yours? Share in the comments and let’s celebrate the power of gift giving.