This morning I alternated writing with perusing Facebook. I'm currently on hiatus from school (less than a month before getting back to the grind!) and have been trying to enjoy this academically imposed break from working on my novel. For the most part, it's going well, but occasionally I do find myself rather irritable when little writing is happening.
Anyway, as I was scrolling through Facebook I came across the #MondayBlogs thread over at 10MinuteNovelists -my favorite group of novelists. Have you heard of them? Us? It's a joy to be part of this international bunch of time crunched writers -recently recognized in Writer's Digest.
I was checking out the blog previews and the first one caught my eye. It was an entry by Lauren Green called Countdown. Here it is for your reading pleasure. In it, she talks about her current endeavor to run a marathon with her sisters and her son's recent musings on quitting gymnastics. Then, she ties it all together with her writing.
And just like that, I felt like I'd gotten up at 0-dark-o'clock and was hit by a two-by-four.
I'm a writer. And while I've been writing a little bit, my drive is a bit off. Have you heard this before? From me even? Of course you have. The few times I've blogged in the last year I've whined and complained about writing. When I wasn't doing that, I determined (yet again) to get my butt in the chair and focus.
All with little results.
The return on my investment has been small.
Because my investment has been small.
Yesterday, my daughter and husband and I were standing around the kitchen island catching up on each other's day before heading off to bed. Out of nowhere my daughter asked: Have you sold a book, Mom?
I casually said no but that I did know someone had bought my book this month.
That wasn't good enough for her.
"But have you sold one? You went to the store today. Did you take one with you to sell? Are you in Barnes and Noble yet? What other bookstores are you in?"
I managed to deter her and went to bed thinking little else about her inquisition. This morning, I got up, got a cup of coffee, and started writing on a short story piece that came to me the other night -pleased with the fact that I was writing at all.
And then Lauren Green showed up with her quitting blog post. When you read something like that and can relate to vividly with it, you start asking yourself all kinds of questions:
Am I quitting? If I'm not giving my [writing] hobby/talent/passion 100% every day, what's stopping me? I don't tend to think of myself as a quitter, but this sure feels like quitting. Is it because the projects I've got on my plate are too hard? Have I stopped loving this writing journey?
Honestly, I don't know what's stopping me. I love writing and I love the projects I'm working on. They are challenging, but I usually enjoy a good challenge. The break I'm on is a good thing for me and I'm glad I have it, but my lackadaisical attitude toward writing has been going on longer than that.
The fear of success has always been difficult for me. I don't know what to do with success (defined however you'd like to define it). Success was not something you were supposed to strive for or achieve or enjoy where I come from. But that's a fear I need to face and get over.
My bigger fear should be not getting there.
I see other author friends of mine talking about their goals and how close they are to meeting them. I see some folks cramming writing into every spare second of their day -enough to crank out book series. Good ones too. Not some poorly edited e-book that a reader spends more time fixing typos than enjoying reading. And I get a frustrated and mentally whine "I wish I had that much time to write."
Yet the truth is -I do have that much time to write. I'm just not using it well. And that's what I need to change.
I realize you've heard this before. Even I'm tired of hearing it. Shall we plan to make changes together? What project do you need to work on? What activity do you need to keep pursuing? How can we help each other not quit?