Hello friends and welcome to another breakneck edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Longtime readers know that a common theme of my writing journey is that feeling that I don’t have enough time to do my writing. With a jam-packed day of work, taking care of my kids, and all the other obligations of adult life, writing sometimes, by necessity, is an afterthought. A low priority non-requirement. Of course, I have endeavored to make it a priority – otherwise I would never get anything done – but, the fact of the matter is, when my child is sick or I’ve got big meetings at work to prepare for, writing does fall down the list of to-dos.
But I’m not here to talk about that today. At least, not directly.
Because, while I have been feeling the time crunch again of late, it has been on a much larger scale. More long-term. I’m starting to worry that at the current rate I am writing, I will never get all my ideas down before I die.
Ideas, Ideas Everywhere
It’s funny, about ten years ago when I first started taking the idea of writing creatively seriously, I lamented that I would never forge a successful career because I didn’t have any original ideas. Though I had written “original” work as a girl, once I discovered fanfiction, my creative efforts were redirected. Truly, I spent my entire adolescence (and early adulthood) writing fanfiction, millions (and I mean millions) of words of fanfiction. So, when I realized that my passion could not be realized on the back of fanfiction alone and tried to transition into original work, I despaired to discover that all my creativity was bound up in other people’s ideas.
However, as I detached myself from fandom and fanfiction, the ideas started to come naturally. Eventually, I had to make a list to keep track of them all. As I got to five or six, I decided I would be satisfied with that. Six or seven books is a dream career for a lot of people, even me. Those five or six ideas would be where I would pin my focus, and if even one of them got published, I would be happy.
Alas, it doesn’t really work that way, does it? Because the more I wrote, the more I learned about the craft, the more I read, the more ideas I got. Last year, I wanted to try writing fantasy for Scribd but didn’t want to let go of any of my home-grown ideas for a novella. So, I opened up a fantasy title generator and clicked through them. From that simple exercise alone, I got even more ideas. Those pitches didn’t end up getting picked up by Scribd, so I said shit, I’ll write them anyway, and added them to the list (one of them is actually my current WIP, Daughters of Necessity).
Yet, for all the ideas I have generated, I am doing astonishingly little actual writing. And that is the real problem.
But Not the Time to Think
I’ve talked before about how I want to be prolific. I want to write millions of words, dozens of books, thousands of blogs. That’s how I want to put my stamp on the writing world. I’d much rather have a bunch of mid-list novels than one (or even two or three) best seller.
Learning that about me, you would think I would be hard at work, pumping out manuscripts all the time, but… well, I think you know where this is going.
While it is true that I do have a busy life that is not always accommodating to the whims of a writer, the same could be said for a lot (if not all) of authors and aspiring authors. And while it is also true that I just don’t have that type of personality where I need to always be working on something, I do have a tendency to make excuses as to why I’m not writing today.
I was thinking yesterday about my current output. Right now I’m averaging about 650 words a day. Not as much as I’d like, but enough to get a 90-100k word fantasy novel written in about half a year. Not bad. Actually, pretty darn good. But then I remembered: that’s just the first draft. If a novel goes through three or four revisions, and those revisions take about six months conservatively… then you’re starting to look at 2 or 3 years before you’re ready to query (or self-pub, whichever path you’re taking). If each novel takes two years, then to write a dozen novels I’ll need 25 years!
I spiraled even further than that, but you get the picture. Basically, I came to the conclusion that I’m not working hard enough.
And look, I’m not totally blind to the fact that many writers who have the kind of prolific career that I aspire to are able to do so because they’ve made writing their full time gig, so comparing myself to them is ill advised. Moreover, I know better than to push myself beyond my limits and drive myself into a months-long burnout. But, I also know that if I want to get to a point in my writing journey where I can call myself prolific, I need to step on the gas a little. Perhaps, if my aspirations were a little more focused (say half a dozen novels), then I could afford to take a more leisurely approach. Alas.
Looking at this conundrum, it is easy for me, especially with the anxiety brain, to tell myself that I simply need to work harder. But that would be folly. As I’ve already said, that would just make me miserable in the end. I want to enjoy writing, not feel chained to it. But I do need to make some smarter decisions about when and how I write. I need to stop lying to myself that I am perfectly capable of writing while watching the basketball game or with youtube on in the background. I need to be more firm with myself in carving on specific times to write. I need to surround myself with more creativity and less sports talk radio, Twitter, and goofy cell phone games.
Most of all, I just plain old need to write. Sounds simple enough, but I’ve made up plenty of bullshit excuses to avoid it. And excuses are one thing I just don’t have time for.
That’s all from me this time. Tomorrow I’ll be bringing you a short review on Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, which I finally finished. Until next time my lovelies, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.
Follow My Socials
Twitter | Instagram | Spoutible
Leave a Reply