“How great would it be to combine writing with yoga?” That was my exact thought when I heard about a writing and yoga camp at Asphyttan Metta House. To me, it felt natural to put this year’s educational budget on it! I love writing and write a lot at work, but never any fiction. My expectation before attending the camp was mainly that I would be inspired start writing fiction again, because I rarely do it anymore. In retrospect, I can say that the camp lived up to and exceeded my expectations. Here are five things this writing camp taught me:
1. Set aside time
Practice makes perfect. It is so basic that it was perhaps the first proverb I ever learned. Yet, it is just as easy to forget it. I have become an expert at sitting at home, dreaming about writing – instead of actually writing. During the camp, it turned out that I am far from alone, but that we all want to change it.
That’s why we talked a bit about actually reserve a calendar spot for writing. It can be one afternoon or evening per week, thirty minutes a day or maybe a few days a year, when you decide to write. The important thing is just to schedule a time for it and not change it.
Honestly though, I can say that I am still working on this point.
I’m pretty good at scheduling other things every day of the week, and I find it difficult to say no to seeing a friend because I want to write instead. It just sounds too pretentious!
One of the teachers told me that she used to lie and say that she has laundry time when in reality, she was writing. It was simply easier that way. Maybe I’ll try it next week?
2. Write something every day
To piggyback off of the above point, I know that another reason why I sometimes found it difficult to set aside time to write, is my performance anxiety. If my calendar says writing, it is easy to get in the mindset of “now I will open up my computer and begin The Greatest Work of My Life”. Of course, it feels like a big step, then!
Instead of making writing seem like such a big deal, a good rule of thumb is to write something every day. That takes the pressure off it, because if I write every day, not everything can be good every day.
I repeat: If I write every day, not everything can be good every day. Instead, there is simply one requirement – just write. One word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page. As long as you write something. This helps me a great deal against performance anxiety, which is something I really struggle with.
3. Living life as a writer
What does it mean to live life as a writer? This can involve both active and passive choices. For example, you probably already scroll Instagram every day. Why not let your feed include some writing inspiration? Then you won’t have to change your behavior but still get into a writer mindset every day. Lifehack!
Here are some suggestions on how to live a writing life:
- Follow writing accounts on Instagram
For example, start following your local library, your favorite authors and interesting publishers.
- Listen to writing podcasts
Subscribe to podcasts that talk about writing, reading, and culture.
- Attend writing-related events
Keep track of what’s happening at nearby libraries and schools, publishing houses, and other places that promote reading and writing. There, you can take part in author meetings, open mic nights, readings and the like to be inspired.
- Read a lot!
Writing makes you want to read, and vice versa. Read what you like, not what you “should”.
4. Surround yourself with others who write
I have realized that this is very important to me, yet it has been (and maybe is) something I have not prioritized. To regularly talk to others who have the same interest as you, can be so inspiring.
Here’s how you can get in touch with others who write:
- Join a Facebook group
Maybe the easiest way! There are many groups where you can discuss writing. Find one that fits you!
- Start a writers’ circle
Talking regularly about your own and others’ text is both very evolving and fun. That is the sole purpose of a writers’ circle, and it can be either digital or physical. It may consist of people you already know, or maybe newfound friends from a Facebook group.
- Take a writers’ class
If you want to take your writing to the next level, you can, of course, take a writers’ class. Either a shorter one – like the one I attended – or a full education program.
5. Sign a writers’ contract with yourself
On the last day of camp, we signed a writers’ contract with ourselves. It should include how writing feels right now, where we are in our writing and where we want to be. An example of what my contract included was that I want to write something every day, I want to write 10 minutes at least 4 days a week, and start a writer’s circle (which I have!).
It was a great moment that made the weekend feel even more important. Otherwise, it is easy to go somewhere and get caught up by it, and then come back to everyday life and fall into old habits. The writers’ contract is a reminder of how wonderful camp was, and that I can actually get into that mindset again.
Finally, thanks to Naes & Friends for giving me the opportunity to attend this camp!