I’ve been feeling a little bit discouraged about writing over the last month or so. It’s not so much the “woe is me, I haven’t had an acceptance in a while” type of discouragement, but the kind where I feel like I haven’t been putting in enough effort. Like I’m not working hard enough. Like I’m not writing enough. Like I’m not doing enough.
The only thing is, I am. I’m either writing or working on writing constantly. I spent 2-3 hours a day–every day, without exception–working on this stuff. And with 3 young kids, I usually choose to spend that time after they go to bed so that I can still spend as much time as possible with the family.
So what’s the problem? Why I’m whining about feeling down about stuff?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I finally think I figured it out. I stayed up way too late the night before working character profiles for the new novel and then the two oldest kids decided that it would be a good idea to each take a turn getting me out of bed as soon as I fell asleep, so I’ve been walking around like a Romero zombie with total sleep deprecation. I was really feeling like, “What am I wasting all of these hours for? I’m tired, crabby, and haven’t even finished a new short story in months.”
I went out of the coffee shop to work on a post and some revisions really feeling down. So I decided to get to the bottom of it. If I’m supposedly doing this stuff because I enjoy it, then shouldn’t I figure out what I enjoy the most about writing and make a little more time for that?
I asked myself, when do I feel the best about writing? Is it when I post a new story to Theme of Absence? Is it when I finish a new post here? Is it when I have a positive interaction with another writer on Twitter? Is it when I receive an acceptance letter? Is it when I sell a copy of Holy Fudgesicles?
While all of those things bring good, happy thoughts, none of them make up the best part of writing. I’m happiest when I’m actually writing. Everything else is just icing on the cake. But the fun comes when I’m creating a scene, solving a puzzle that I created, or having a character surprise me by doing something I didn’t expect.
Writing isn’t some kind of personal torture, or another way to make you hate yourself, like some of those writing memes on Pinterst might make you think. It’s not the same thing as bleeding and it doesn’t hurt. (If it does, you’re doing it wrong.)
No, writing is fun. Writing is…me, I guess. I feel the most like myself when I’m writing.
And that been my biggest problem. I’m spending so much time working on everything thing else I need to be working on, that actually writing often gets sent to the bottom of the priority list. In other words, my daily “writing time” is mostly spent blogging, marketing, editing, querying, or some combination of those.
I’ve been feeling discouraged with writing because I haven’t been writing. I haven’t been creating anything.
So to remedy this, I’m going to give myself a little more permission to write again. The other stuff is important–vital to my future, in fact–but there’s no harm in taking a couple of days off every month to work on a new short story or push through another scene in the next novel.
After all, writing is what writers do.
So thanks for letting me vent a bit, and feel free to share a comment and let us know what you do when you feel the same way.