As my long stretches of bogging silence usually indicate, I haven’t been super productive on the writing front lately.
I have made some major changes to my eating and exercising routines the past few months, however, which has felt fantastic! Most days I feel great, and I’m proud that I’m finally sticking with something I’ve struggled with all my life. The result of that, though, is that I have even less time to focus on writing: I now exercise around 5 days per week, cook often, and meal prep every day so I rarely eat out. As a result, I’m usually pretty wiped at the end of the day and post-workout, and often spend the few hours I have before bed time vegging out with a video game and prepping for the next day.
But, yes, you read that right—a few hours. That means I have plenty of time to get some writing in, even if it’s just a half hour or so. So this whole “lack of time” thing I’ve been complaining about really isn’t cutting it anymore, even though I’m busier than ever. Plus, being healthier and more active should be giving me more energy, and most of the time, it has been. So what gives?
Thankfully, I’ve finally figured out why I’ve been so unmotivated with my writing for so long, and it’s simple: I’ve let my desire to get published halt my progress. I’ve focused so hard for so long on what editors and agents and publishers want, rather than writing what I want, that whatever I can motivate myself to do feels forced and unenjoyable (which, I’m sure, is how it reads as well).
Unfortunately, it’s taken a long time for me to come to this conclusion: I’m never going to achieve my goal of publication if I’m not enjoying writing and focusing on improving, and maybe—hallelujah, an epiphany!—my goal shouldn’t be publication at all. It should just be telling a great story, and then telling a better one, and then telling an even better one. I’m going to be writing much more about this in my next post on The Sprint Shack, which will be up and running on Saturday.
I think this issue is why so many of my posts, both here and on The Sprint Shack, have expressed that I’m not where I want to be with my writing. And I’d like my future posts—and, of course, my writing sessions—to reflect more productivity and optimism than that.
After all, this is my passion. It’s something I should be enjoying like I used to, before it went from “hobby” to “potential job.” When I think about writing, I want to have a positive reaction that motivates me to write more. I want to think about the mornings I’d wake up in middle school, anxious to open my notebook and continue my latest fanfic; I want to think about Friday nights when I first discovered WriteClub, not too long ago, when I’d blast through thousands of words per sprint with the verve and excitement of someone on a roller coaster. I don’t want to attribute writing to my recent experiences, which have mostly been staring at a screen or a binder in disappointment and frustration, eventually resulting in giving up.
One thing I will say for myself is this: saving all my writing for nighttime just isn’t realistic, regardless of how much time I have then. Even if I have hours to work with once I’m home, I’m really more of a morning writer, save the spurts of energy I sometimes get during major nighttime sprints like WriteClub. So I need to just be mindful of when I experience highs in my creativity levels and how I can arrange my schedule to coincide my writing time with those peaks.
Speaking of creativity levels, my good friend and co-blogger Faye Kirwin’s e-book, Writember, is coming out tomorrow! In it, she helps you track your own creativity levels and use those techniques to forge a daily writing habit that lasts. I’ve been beta reading it for her and it’s fantastic, so make sure to pick it up when it launches tomorrow! I know I’m going to be using it, myself.
And—a bit late, but better late than never!—also be sure to pick up my other good friend and co-blogger Taylor Eaton’s flash fiction anthology, God Gave Me Butterfly Wings. This is another gem I had the opportunity to beta read, and it’s a wonderfully unique and inspiring piece. Worth every penny (and much, much more)!
I have to admit, seeing these gorgeous covers and all the fantastic content within them makes me a bit anxious to get on that publication game, maybe in the form of self-publishing (something I never really considered until recently). But, first thing’s first: enjoying writing again, and producing some passionate works as a result!
And that’s it for my long, ranty update. Time to get back to my new favorite thing: finding writing prompts I’m excited about and pinning them to my Writing Prompts Pinterest board. And don’t worry… that’s not something that interferes with my writing time, itself!
How have you all been doing with your goals? Do you also find that you write better when you’re focusing on what excites you, rather than what you think might sell? Let me know, and be sure to continue the conversation on my Saturday post over on The Sprint Shack!
Edit: My post on The Sprint Shack is now up! You can view it here.