I think I have written some version of this post at least a dozen times. Here I am, back at blogging! Here I go, trying to be consistent and accountable again! Here I am, being serious about my writing! This is it, the time I become a “real” writer, and write every day, and do all the things! This is the time I’m going to actually write that novel! This time is the winner, I can feel it!
The truth is, I haven’t been motivated or consistent about my writing since the late 90s, early 2000s when I would stay up all night writing my Hanfic and wait anxiously for the feedback I so desperately wanted from my fellow HanFicML members. I would write and write, and read and read, and revise, and write some more. It felt like a nearly endless well of story ideas – drawn mostly from my real life experiences and my obsession with my favorite band at time (more on that later). Once I started smoking weed in my early 20s, that too felt like it only helped fuel my creativity; the drugs and my unchecked depression meant I would have days where I would hardly sleep, spending hour upon hour building websites, creating graphics, writing, followed by days where all I did was sleep. Guess how healthy those coping mechanisms turned out to be? (insert Not Great, Bob gif here)
Imposter Syndrome looms large, especially in creative spaces like writing. I find that when I fall off the wagon, or the horse, whichever metaphor you’d prefer, I usually feel like it’s because I’m not a “real” writer. I would posit, there’s no such thing as a “real” writer. You either write or you don’t, that’s what makes you a writer. Obviously that doesn’t equate to being a published writer, but that’s a different goal. A few years back, I started following authors whose work I enjoy on various social media channels. I also subscribe to a handful of author newsletters (Alexandra Bracken, Katherine Locke, Susan Dennard, Jasmine Guillory, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, and agent, Kate McKean for example.) I found that many of these authors also enjoy talking about craft, and the resounding message around craft is that there is no one way to write. In fact, V.E. Schawb, has started an entire Instagram Live series called No Write Way which interviews authors to talk about their process. Everyone is different and advice that works for one person (write everyday in order to be a writer) may not work for others. Ultimately, I think what all motivate comes down to is your actual goal.
Goal setting is such an important skill, but also falls often into that new-agey sort of self-help/wellness category that makes me irrationally angry. So often, goal setting is structured around the idea that you HAVE to constantly be bettering yourself, you must always be in forward motion, you absolutely cannot stop or veer from your path. Reality is not like that. Reality is messy, and the path you start on is likely not the path you thought it was, and it may not be the path that actually helps you achieve whatever goals you’ve set. I’m also bothered by the idea that every portion of our lives must have productivity which is measured and accounted for. Your life is not all work, and I blame capitalism for this bullshit idea. Yes, I realize that’s a lot. Basically, finding happiness, is going to be an ongoing journey – and yes, as cliche as it sounds, happiness is the journey and not the destination. Because once you reach your destination, your goal accomplished, you will find that it is elusive, and requires another reach, another goal, another journey. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, to be honest.
When you’re thinking about and setting goals for yourself though, keep in mind all of the little things that will be required in order to achieve your goal. That’s where things get sticky – the day – to – day grind that will be necessary to see your goal to fruition. As an adult, I feel incredibly grateful that I had parents who not only encouraged me to try new things, but also allowed me to fail at things. This gave me the tools to build resilience, but also to strengthen my own “gut.” Because I have tried, and failed (in various ways,) at many things, I’ve gotten better and better at being able to determine when something isn’t a right fit for me. Let go of those things that aren’t helpful, so you can try and fail at other things!
So, where am I going with this? I’m not totally sure. What started out as a bit of poking fun at myself and my own lack of motivation around regular writing has morphed into a bland criticism of capitalism and a plea for you to accept and be kind with yourself (and a reminder to me to do the same.) I guess, my whole point to begin with was, let’s see how long I can stay in the saddle this time. I’m not going to be holding my breath – but maybe if I do want this to be a habit that sticks, I should take some time to think about and set actual meaningful goals for myself. Don’ worry, I’ll keep you posted. 😉