First off, sorry for the late post. I’d thought momentarily yesterday morning that I needed to write a post for today, and then promptly forgot before I got to the computer. Oops! Sometimes, it’s like that. Life gets in the way any chance it gets. Family, work, other commitments get in the way. Doubt gets in the way just as much. It’s so much easier to say, I’ll write tomorrow. I’ll do it later. No one will mind. No one will notice. If it takes me a week more to finish this chapter, that’s okay. Oh, it’s a month later? Time flies.
Obvious statement: Writing is hard.
Unless you’re some sort of mutant, it’s hard to get in that headspace that you need to write. There’s always other things that need done, and sometimes, you have to sit back and say, what am I really doing this? Why write?
If you don’t have an answer to that? Find one.
If the answer is anything other than “Because I want to”, take a break, take a step back, and reevaluate your goals.
I started writing because I didn’t like how a series ended. I thought, what if… What if the explosion didn’t take him to hell, and instead, trapped him in limbo. What if the character who’s fault all this was got a chance for redemption? What if…
A few years later with ~6 long stories under my belt, I ran across Nanowrimo. It was still October, so I plotted and planned, and then Halloween night, threw it all out when I decided that was a boring idea and I didn’t want to write it. I had already talked a friend of mine into doing it with me, so I couldn’t very well back out at the last minute. I fretted all day about it, then when I was in bed, getting ready to go to sleep, went, “OK, any characters in here who need their stories told?”. A walked out, and said, “Well, how about mine?”
I won that year, and I was hooked. I wanted more challenges, so I eventually found my way to a writers group, hoping that kind of energy would exist there. It didn’t, but it took me a long time, and a lot of dramas along the way to discover it. I found friends, and lovers, and enemies, and some that were all three at different times. I lost sight of why I wanted to write. I wanted to write because I was in a writers group, and that’s what I was told I needed to do. Write this idea, one person said when I bemoaned not knowing what to work on. Write in this genre, peer pressure said, we’re all writing in this genre now. This genre is cool. You’ll make money this way, and be a REAL writer. Because, you know, the only reason to write is to get published.
Eventually, that group fell apart after one drama too many, and after realizing just how much words were being twisted between people.
I still wanted to write, but I didn’t know what anymore. I was no longer being told to do anything, by anyone. I had a few people I still trusted on the subject, who simply encouraged me. Not to write what they wanted me to write, or to meet any external goals, but simply to find what I wanted.
I stopped writing.
Most of a year went by, with me immersed in reading instead. I started out reading the genre I’d been writing in before, but found it boring. It was too predictable. The framework was too obvious. I started meandering through the bookshop, trying to see what would hold my attention.
I ended up in YA, and suddenly, I wanted to WRITE again. I wanted to write something like this, something young and fresh and new, something I couldn’t call the tropes the minute I opened the book.
I won nano that year too.
And more importantly? I finally reached a point where I was doing what I wanted to do, without caring if anyone else in my groups liked it. There’s a time for that, and a place. In edits, for example. But when drafting? I have to let go of all those expectations, all those shoulds and wants and coulds. I have to find that spark again, every time I sit down to write.
Find your spark. It’s there, hiding somewhere. You just have to let go enough to see it.