I’m just gonna leave this here.
I’m just gonna leave this here.
July 2nd was the halfway point of the year, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on where we are with our goals.
I have set goals for myself the last few years because somehow, one time, the whole year had passed and I hadn’t read a single book or watched more than half a dozen films. Who knows what that meant for my writing…
What happened that year?!
When I came to that realization, I started to create a list of goals I wanted to accomplish each year. Call them goals or resolutions or even part of your “to do list”, but without some sort of structure, a clear path to follow, it’s easy to allow them to just remain an idea, a figment, a wish.
Goals do not have to be secured at the beginning of the year, we can create a new one anytime. We don’t have to wait for November to power through a writing challenge. Every day is a chance to start. Each day is an opportunity to get a little bit closer to where we want to be.
So whatever goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year, check in on your progress. What adjustments need to be made? If you want to create a new goal for yourself and/or your work, do it. Make a step-by-step list of how you can and will accomplish this task. What do you need to do? Who can help you? What is a realistic time frame? Are there tools that would better help you if you had them available? Set a deadline for yourself, or find an external one, like a contest entry that will keep you on track. What steps will bring you closer to achieving your dream?
Write it all down. Make it visual. Sometimes seeing a large goal is overwhelming because there is a vagueness in how you might get from A to Z, but when it’s broken down into more manageable steps, the objective doesn’t seem so unattainable. Also, small steps toward the larger goal can help maintain your positivity and momentum as you see yourself checking off those tasks.
I am in no way always successful, but I’ve come to the conclusion that by at least acknowledging the things I’d like to accomplish, it gives me something to strive towards, even if I sometimes fail.
I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and if you ever need a cheerleader for a bit of encouragement, you know where to find me. 😉
I’m currently reading Chuck Palahniuk’s Stranger than Fiction and I came across this text in one of his nonfiction essays. Among stories about public sex acts and learning not to care what people think of you while dressed as a dog, I discovered this nugget that, truthfully, was the most startling thing I’ve read so far.
The worst part of writing fiction is the fear of wasting your life behind a keyboard. The idea that, dying, you’ll realize you only ever lived on paper. Your only adventures were make believe, and while the world fought and kissed, you sat in some dark room, masturbating and making money.Chuck Palahniuk
Why did this unsettle me, you ask? Because until he said it, until I read it, I didn’t know this was something to worry about.
And then my mind spiraled.
I am a homebody, an introvert, a writer of sci-fi and fantasy. I know as a writer I have to get out and experience the world in order to have those things stored in the “bank of creative tidbits”, but honestly, sometimes I’d prefer not to make the effort, and I know that’s a shortcoming. I have plenty of interests to keep me occupied but if I only ever run in the same circle, I’ll never learn and grow, experience awe or displeasure. I’ll never be exposed to new ideas and new things by experiencing them firsthand.
It wasn’t until I read these words that I started to wonder about the subjects I’m drawn to and the stories that resonate with me – they’re lives I’ll never lead.
I’ll never be a woman with a mythological god as a best friend. I’ll never be the woman traipsing across the stars in an alien space ship in search of her sister. I’ll never be a spy. I’ll never save the world.
These are adventures I can only have on the page. They are unlikely, imaginary scenarios, and that’s why I write them, so I must be content with those adventures that are available to me, and as writers, we can’t forget that. We need to get out, we need to observe and feel so that we not only live, but can also create.
And maybe not worry that we’re living vicariously through our characters.
I may not be as daring as Chuck Palahniuk, willing to put myself at physical risk or in compromising situations to experience all the different facets of humanity, but I can make more of an effort to have a wider understanding of the world around me. We may not learn, see, and do everything we want – there’s so much more to explore than once person could ever do in a lifetime – but there’s no harm in at least attempting it.
That was my takeaway, at least – be more willing to get out (of the house).
I have been struggling to reconcile having a mundane job that offers me the freedom to write or finding a new job that challenges me and potentially leaves me little time to chase my dream.
Either choice is exhausting nonetheless.
The monotony of my current job leaves me tired out of sheer boredom but it’s a job I don’t have to think about when I leave and it offers me a lot of time to think on my stories while I’m there. Actually, most of the time I just sing to myself because my trains of thought are usually interrupted a dozen times by customers asking if I work there. No, I just have OCD and need to rearrange this store’s shelves. ((face palm)) I often have time before and after work to write most days, and lately my writing has been all consuming. I make notes while on lunch. I’ve made notes on my phone at stop lights. It’s like a faucet has been turned on and left running.
Not a bad problem to have.
Obviously my concern about looking for something else is that a more “serious” job may take priority leaving me with little time or energy to focus on that which truly matters, and given this new river of inspiration, I don’t want to sacrifice one for the other.
And this is where continuing in menial work leaves me questioning my life choices. I know I’ve discussed this before – probably more than once, so apologies – the mediocrity before success. It’s hard not to want to feel fulfilled by the day job, we spend so many hours there, but if it pays the bills (hopefully) and allows us the freedom to pursue our passion, then isn’t it worth enduring? To some degree, I suppose it is.
It’s a catch-22.
The Sis keeps reminding me of the pros, and most days when I know I have time to write and do some yoga before going in, I feel like I’m already off to a good start. And that probably helps to get me through the monotony.
I truly look forward to the days when writing is the only “job” I have to worry about. ((sigh)) Can you imagine?!
If you’re in a similar position, how do reconcile this disparity? Let’s commiserate together.
For many writers, myself included, we find, from time to time, that we may not be exactly where we hoped we’d be by a certain point in our lives. I made the discovery this morning that this winter it will be a particular number of years since I graduated from university. I had big dreams for my career as a writer, and yet here I am, all these years later, still working towards that goal.
I have family and friends who are supportive of this long held dream – I think a lot of it is surprise, at this point, that I’m still trying, so it’s no wonder that every now and again I think, “What the hell happened?”
I see these positivity messages that Vera Wang didn’t enter the fashion industry until she was 40, Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at 50, even Samuel L. Jackson was 43 when he landed his first major role in Jungle Fever as if all of this was meant to make me feel better that though I’m now closer to Julia’s age than Vera’s there’s still time.
And it’s hard not to compare to other’s who are finding success, especially when they’re younger, and yet, all of our journeys are different – their struggles, their life, their direction is not mine, not yours, and as long as our vision of the destination is clear, we’ll get there…in our own time.
So keep hacking away at that goal, little by little, because any amount of progress is progress.
This week’s Quote Monday is more an interesting tidbit that we, as writers, can all understand. I enjoy meeting other writers and being part of a community of interesting, creative, unique individuals who see the world differently. Only another writer can understand the struggle, the isolation, the never-ending pull to create, and the strange idea that our characters tell us what they want.
I recently shared with a writer’s group how two of my characters had a mind of their own and continued to put themselves into a situation I didn’t want them in, yet. Obviously, I have control over it all, and yet, it was something they clearly wanted to do. I love when characters take control, but only another writer truly understands what this means. So when I saw this quote from Mr. King, which sums it up perfectly, I thought I’d share.
Since the release of my pup health scare related stress, I got my flow back and have been consumed with all the stories that require my attention – a much better stress to have.
So here’s to a productive week! Happy Writing!
In my last post I mentioned a sick pup. Something in our move to Washington State triggered an illness in him that has taken us nearly four weeks to resolve, and we’ve been here six. We were truly reconsidering the move at one point. I’ll write a separate post about this experience as he was diagnosed with something rare and other pet parents should be informed.
During these stressful weeks, our focus was only on him. What could we do for him? How could we make him more comfortable? It was hard to concentrate on anything else.
I am thankful for the job opportunity I’ve been given, but as his medical bills continue to rise, I’m already considering a change to cover the expenses. I couldn’t write, couldn’t read, didn’t have the attention span to watch anything with any sort of vested interest. All we could do was hold him and comfort him and wait for the vet to share with us the results of all the tests.
It has been hard to be positive.
Since the move my stress level has increased…beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before – and maybe it has because, in part, yoga has been relegated to the back burner for a while now. What did I do before I discovered yoga?
Being positive is a choice, but when life gets messy, it’s harder sometimes to remain so. When I saw this quote, which I saved weeks ago, I thought, “I need to change my perspective, but I can’t until I know my furkid is okay.” It’s not that I wasn’t “positive”, I had to be in order to reassure myself and The Sis that he would recover, it’s just that it was harder to find other things to be thankful for.
Hence the quote.
Sometimes we just need to get through the day and finding a moment, a silver lining makes all the difference. Maybe it’s something as simple as “you have your health” because right now, that’s actually a pretty big something. Maybe it’s that you have a job because, again, right now, that’s also a big something. Maybe they’re more personal or related to your writing, like you worked out that plot hole or you finished writing that difficult chapter. You started yoga again and are feeling better. As you start to consider the different aspects of your life, you’ll probably find a number of things to be positive about and those add up.
The world is (still) a mess, and those outside influences can definitely affect our outlook, so finding a thread of positivity is a necessity to keeping our sanity. Journaling is a great way to keep track of these, and if you’ve been struggling, I highly recommend trying it. A number of journaling prompts offer this specific practice, “what are you thankful for today”, to maintain a positive attitude and it’s an easy reference tool for when you’re feeling low.
And as writers, we’re often in our own worlds, struggling differently, often quietly. Knowing there are others, like us, out there can help lessen the burden, so if you have any tips for maintaining your positivity, please share them below and let’s help one another!
Take care! xx, Rach
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve come across a number of articles related to the topic of when to consider giving up on your writing. Most of the titles were decisively click bait but I was intrigued that this was a common theme making the rounds.
It got me thinking about my writing and my shortcomings in regards to my career thus far.
I am now of a particular age in which my job prospects should be more of a priority. I am smart, educated, and capable of doing more than I am currently interested in doing but the thought of a “real” job makes me uncomfortable, in part, because I know that I would have to put those particular obligations above those I value more, because…paycheck.
I want to be a writer (or so I keep saying), and now that we’re settled in our new home in a new state and I have a (mediocre) job lined up, I’ve been able to write. For days. It has been an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction to see the words I’m thinking stream from my fingertips to the screen, especially in light of the barren wordless wasteland I found myself in until now.
I have not given my career a proper chance, and I still have passion, so the thought of giving up is not an option I’ve truly considered. Since reading some of those articles, I did think, “What would it take for me to give up writing?” and could not think of a single thing. I’d like to be considered a professional writer, and I know I would be disappointed should that never happen, but I don’t think I would or could ever give up writing all together.
And neither should you.
If you feel the same.
I’ve taken long breaks, which I always regret, but I perpetually feel the urge to want to write. It’s like a shadow, always lurking in the recesses of my mind, my fingers itching for the feel of the keys beneath them.
Most of the articles ended on a similar note.
Only we can hold ourselves responsible for the goals we set and reach. Only we are capable of writing in our own particular voice, and if we want to keep using our voice, then the thought of giving up shouldn’t even cross our minds because the alternative is silence. Stifling our creativity.
If you’ve been considering calling it quits, really think on it. Ask yourself if you would miss it. Try to remember what it is about writing that you enjoy. Maybe you don’t think you have anything to say – what topics compel you to want to act? Try your hand at a different style. Read.
If after all this you find that you don’t have the desire to continue, only then would I recommend taking a break but I would never suggest giving up. Maybe the passion has fizzled, but I believe if it once existed, it’s likely to return.
And don’t you want to know what happens next?
As a writer, the answer should be a resounding YES!
So should you need more of a pep talk, send me a message. If you have any words of wisdom to share with your fellow writers, please leave a comment below.
Good Luck & Happy Writing!
We, as writers, have an opportunity, unlike many others to use our voices to say whatever is on our minds in unique and creative ways. We can use allegory or alternate universes to explore ideas or expose unspoken truths.
When I began my writing journey, I wrote fluff. I wrote romances without any substance, or real world experience. I tried writing mysteries without any true suspense. I was young. I didn’t know what I wanted to say or why I wanted to tell a particular story. I just knew I wanted to tell stories.
It wasn’t until I returned to university, after a decent hiatus (from both education and writing), and discovered screenwriting, that I realized I needed to use my words to convey something; that the stories I was investing my time on needed to have depth, purpose.
Whatever creative medium you are using to express yourself, be bold! If you’ve been debating whether to begin something new, marvel at the magic such an idea carries with it. Sometimes, I’ve found that the excitement of a new project brings with it a renewed sense of purpose, and in these trying times, it’s nice to have something to look forward to. And with that energy, perhaps new ideas will form for yet even more stories, or lead you to finishing an abandoned piece, or fixing a plot hole that’s long troubled you. The possibilities are endless.
It’s hard to remain focused on anything right now. There’s a lot to distract. When so much feels out of our control, it’s best to concentrate on that which we can.
I struggled whether or not to share this particular quote this week. I didn’t want it to come off as callous, given the current state of things, but the truth of it is that because so much is going on, we need to carve out some time for ourselves and our work. So this post is meant for those of us in the artistic sphere who already deal with a number of internal and external struggles in their pursuit of being creative.
This is something I’ve struggled with personally, and because I created this space not only for me, but also for my fellow writers, when I was looking for a quote to share, this one struck me as the right one because I needed to hear it.
I often feel like I need permission to write, especially when there are so many other things that need my attention, but what keeps me sane is my creative outlet and I have to make that a priority.
Set aside time for you and your work, before or after everything else. Create a bubble where you can drown out the background noise and work towards your goals. Use that time as a refuge; a space you look forward to visiting.
As writers and artists, we have the power to use our creativity, our words to draw attention to the things that matter most to us. With everything that’s going on…what do you have to say?