“Should I Carry On Writing?” and Other Writers’ Angst
There’s something about a Global Pandemic that puts a cloud over everything.
Even those who have had the smoothest run through the turmoil have had unprecedented levels of stress. We have all been through the wringer, and even in the best of times, writing isn’t a straightforward “I’m doing it” or “I’m not”.
People write for many different reasons In our latest newsletter we asked all 70,000 of you why you write. Remarkably, we have never asked this on such a big scale before. This is what the hundreds of you that responded told us:
|Because I enjoy it||53%|
|To traditionally publish||9.1%|
|If I didn’t I would fall apart||9%|
Only 27% of respondents are writing with the eventual aim to publish. Everyone else is writing for themselves: as a hobby, for their mental health, or because of a calling they can’t control! That doesn’t mean those people won’t or wouldn’t like to publish one day, but that’s not their sole purpose.
For those of us writing because we just want to, sometimes it can feel hard to find time in the day, week, month, to really sit down and get to it. Having an end goal is so helpful for keeping you going on that journey.
I write micro-fiction and poetry, so I find it quite easy to get through to where I want to in each sitting. But if you are writing longer fiction and don’t yet know where it might take you, it can be hard to know when to stop, and more frustratingly, when to start.
Feeling like we aren’t getting things done or being productive can be a real drain on our motivation, which is a vicious cycle. It can be hard to give yourself the grace to take a break when you’re beating yourself up so hard about having already taken one.
There are two things I find really helpful in dealing with either the self-induced guilt of not writing, or the not-writing itself:
- Telling myself the words aren’t going anywhere. If I don’t write now, I can still write later – stop being so dramatic – it’s not now or never!
- Getting excited away from the words about whatever I’m writing – laying in bed and chewing over a character or storyline; or going for a walk to some thematic music that helps me visualise scenes or poems – that never fails to get me rushing to get my thoughts down.
I take a lot of comfort in the fact that whatever happens and whatever long breaks I take from writing, I always come back to writing.
Being CEO of Novlr is a busy job. It and my two lovely toddlers take a lot of my time so I can go weeks and months without writing a creative word. Then my excellent band of poet mates will put on a show and invite me to perform and I’ll get a one-off outlet for my passion once again.
Trust that whatever happens, if writing is what you do, writing is what you’ll do.