Hello friends and welcome to another laidback edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Friends, I am still in the throes of the New-Year mindset. Every morning when I wake up I think about all the things I want to accomplish for the day. Many of the tasks I put on my to do list are stepping stones along the path toward the larger goal, like writing 500-1000 words every day so I can finish Daughters of Necessity on schedule. That, in turn, feeds into the ultimate goal, which is, as I have said and will continue to repeat until it manifests, becoming a full time writer.
I feel like I’ve done pretty good so far this year (less than two weeks in, I know). I’ve blogged now for twelve days straight, I’ve written at least some words every day, and I’ve carved out time to read.
But there is still so much more I want to do. I want to rejuvenate my Patreon. I want to launch a Redbubble page. I want to dip my toes into podcasting (yes, still). I want to be active and friendly in the writing community. I want to return to freelance romance writing.
So much to do, yet so little time. Often times I find myself wistfully thinking that I’m not working hard enough. There are hours in my day when I can squeeze in more work. I see plenty of other people doing it. So why can’t I?
Everyday I’m Hustling
Well, here’s the thing. I recently had to take a break from freelancing because I was very seriously behind on a manuscript and just as seriously mentally blocked about it. Every time I opened the document to work on it, I would get so stressed out I could barely get a few sentences out before I was exhausted. My editor was great in allowing me to take time away and hopefully come back to it later, and since then I’ve been focusing on trying to enjoy my creative process again.
Part of the reason I fell behind, and the biggest reason why I was so damned stressed about it, was because there just wasn’t enough time over the course of the holiday season to give the piece any more than a cursory glance most days. Winter is my busy season at my day job, plus there were school functions for my kids, family in town, Christmas shopping to do, funky custody exchanges.
Most days by the time I got home I just wanted to relax. Watch a basketball game, or a true crime documentary. Take a bath or hit the sheets early. Then, I had to get up and do it all over again. On the days when I forced myself to use my evening hours to work, I was miserable in the days (yes, multiple) that followed. Without time to play video games or veg out, I became even more depressed than I usually get this time of year (thanks SAD).
I sometimes think this means I’m just a naturally lazy person. I’ve beaten myself up more times than I can count. Plenty of people in this industry are working a job (or more than one), going to school, raising a family, or any combination thereof and still find time to forge a successful writing career. So, then, I “reasoned,” what does it say about me that I can’t go a few nights a week without TV or video games or extra sleep?
Type What Personality?
Are you starting to see a pattern here? Far too often, I am holding myself up to someone else’s standard.
It occurred to me that maybe there are people out there, perhaps those I am trying to emulate, that get emotional satisfaction from always being on the go or juggling multiple projects. Maybe they go to bed after a long work day and look back on what they accomplished with joy. Maybe they can reward themselves with a bottle of champagne or a weekend away or a club night with friends, and that is enough to rejuvenate them to do it all again.
And if that is a personality type that some people are just born with, well… I’m one of them. I often want to be, but I’m just not. I’m not bored when I go home and have nothing to work on. I’m not stimulated by new challenges or changes to routine.
Does that make me lazy? I don’t know. I hope not. Does it mean I lack ambition? I don’t think so, I’ve got plenty of goals I want to meet. Does it mean I don’t have what it takes to be a writer? Certainly not.
I think what it really means is that if I stop trying to be someone I’m just not for a change, and actually accept that my own pace is what it is for a reason, then maybe I’ll actually start getting somewhere. I mean, who knows what I am capable if only I just start spending the mental energy I have been using to berate myself for not working hard enough instead on writing and creating and growing.
I want to find out, though. I want to find out what my real potential is, not just what I invented for myself based on a metric that is incompatible with who I am and who I am meant to be.
I am not broken after all.
Yall, I don’t think I can stress this enough, I am having fun writing again. I didn’t realize how much weight I had put on myself with the constant churn of deadlines and output, but I am really grateful that I have this opportunity to find my way again. I can’t wait to talk about craft again. Maybe next week. Until then, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.