“Get Hungry” and Other Lessons in Writing

Writers write.

That was one of the first pieces of advice I learned as a writer. I’ve said in a previous post that if you write, you are a writer. Conversely, if you don’t write . . .

I remember the first time I “felt” this. I was taking a writing class in college, and I watched leaves swirl in the breeze along a campus sidewalk. Without much thought, a poem of sorts came to mind. I played with language as I watched the foliage dance away.

“That was easy. Or easier,” I had thought to myself. I had always enjoyed writing, but I began to realize the benefit of being in the constant practice of writing. I was beginning to see the world with writer’s eyes. People will tell you, of course, that athleticism comes with practice. Or musicianship. The same goes for writing. How do you expect to run a marathon if you haven’t run for a year? Even if you had been in great shape once, it can fade.

And fade it did. I finished that class and took on other studies, and I found that the words weren’t coming quite as easily as they had before. As a new chapter in my life brought more opportunities to write, it was like stretching my legs or testing out an old bicycle. I was writing, but I was rusty.

Okay, you get it. Practice helps. So what does this have to hunger? If you’ve ever worked hard and frequently at something, you know.

I’ve never been great at exercise. I don’t crave it as others do. But not long ago, I became more regular at it. Not for long, I’ll admit. But there was a point when I missed a workout that I actually¬†missed it. That was a first. I actually wanted to exercise. Well, twenty minutes ago, I spent some time exercising again. I’m rusty. But I know that if I get to a point where it’s routine to work out, I might even develop a taste for it.

If you’re a writer, you probably enjoy it. Unless your job requires you to write in a secondary capacity, you probably don’t see the need to write much at all unless you actually like writing.

But even for those of us who love to write, do we do it often enough?

Currently, I write daily. It’s not always a blog post (obviously!), a devotion, or a lesson plan, but it’s often one of those things. I’ve been tempted to wonder if my words will dry up if I write too much. So far, I’ve found that the opposite is the case. And if I don’t write?

I crave it.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you probably know that I write hymns. I write them quite often, in fact. But if I have to wait too long before writing one (other writing projects, busy family life, etc.), I get hungry. Okay, I get hangry. It almost physically hurts until I take the time to write again.

Now, if I wait too long, that craving would eventually fade. I’d get out of practice. And I’d slowly have to whet my appetite for hymn writing again.

How about you? How hungry are you when it comes to writing? We all know that writing can be difficult. It’s often tempting to put it off. But if you discipline yourself with a steady diet of writing, your cravings will help keep you on track.