Not writing is a painful endeavor. Although many days might slip by with only the thought of wanting to write going through my hear, not the clicking of fingers depressing keys, nor the stroke of pen against paper, going through these days without actually writing is difficult to deal with. Of course, one might say, “that’s how you know that you’re a writer”. Being a writer isn’t something I question; to me, that isn’t a debate. The issue is the fact that I am not writing, and that is a problem.
I’ve certainly oscillated on how I viewed curation and writing on this blog. I would go on streaks of writing every day then into weeks upon weeks of nothingness. It would always happen when I realized that I was writing far more for the blog than I was in my fiction projects— I would panic, scale back on the blog, then try to refocus on the fiction. Inevitably both would falter. Harkening back to my post (which a new reader to the site pointed me back to), I would end up always making excuses. Fear is readily the easiest (while simultaneously most accurate) reason for my stalls. In fact, on a recent episode of Armchair Expert, with guest Whitney Cummings, she notes how we often pursue the exact behaviors to make happen the thing we most fear. Of course she was talking in relationships, but I equated it to my writing as fast as one would see a burger disappear after leaving it alone in a room with a dog. It’s a form of self-sabotage used to validate a certain view of ourselves.
I do in fact do the very things to derail the career I want because I am afraid I that I am not good enough. It’s far easier to prove that rather than climb against it, right?
There’s plenty of time that I am mindless in my approach to activities, not thinking one way or another that writing is even an option for the moment. (Of course the fact that I am not even thinking about it, or that I am checked-out to where I am not thinking about it, but that’s another topic.) Where it’s a problem for me is when I knowingly choose another behavior over writing. In other words, when I have the opportunity to write and I know it, I then instead go and do something else. Anything… as long as I am avoiding writing.
But then there’s the latent pain that I create in avoidance. It’s a different pain than the pain of validation of how terrible a writer I am. It’s slower to boil, thus it can go longer without me noticing it’s even there. But it’s oh so much worse when it does finally boil. When I don’t write for a while, I realize that I’d rather be the worst writer ever than not write.
So here I am again.
The question here isn’t whether or not I am going to blog regularly. “Giving Up” will still stand. I don’t want to post everyday unless if feels organic, and writing fiction is far more important than blogging. BUT— I’ve noticed that there have been a lot of times where I would be capable of pounding out a post on whatever topic, but I wouldn’t write it. Why? Because I should be writing fiction. Instead, I end up writing absolutely nothing. I’d rather be writing something, even if it is blogging. Sometimes blogging is a grease that gets stuck wheels moving for writing fiction. In fact, when I was tracking my word count (a habit I decided had become counterproductive), one of the correlations I saw is that very high word count days were blogging days. That includes fiction count as well as total word count. I needed that grease of blogging.
Blogging to me includes any and all non-fiction writing and the writing I would delete in the end instead of posting by the way.
I know that I can build back those habits of writing. I know that I need to. I also want to, dammit. I want to write. Being indie poses challenges in being a financial success at writing; being indie does not put a challenge in my writing.
I approach writing partly as an experiment, or rather I’d like to. I write to think, I write to entertain, I write to persuade, I write to inform, etc etc etc. Let’s move back towards that topic of fear. In all that, I worry a LOT about what others think. Even when someone reads a book of mine and lauds praise on me, I find a mistake and hide mortified in the closet thinking then that the praise was misdirected. Like most artists, it’s that pesky imposter syndrome. But should I let that get in the way?
What I want to be able to do is work on my writing, continuously working to improve it while simultaneously allowing readers access to it. I don’t want to put out unpolished work; I don’t want to rush a piece out to publication prematurely; however, I also want the capability to put out work that is a bit rough around the edges in order to tell a story, to lend voice to the work (although admittedly I want to be able to make it look cool rather than a mess, which I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out). I’ve also wanted to experiment with the idea of posting unpolished work on my site, work that I know needs edited. The thought is a loose way of crowd-sourcing the editing process, not as a way of getting free editing, rather a way to simulate focus groups. I am not 100% certain on this one, because I also don’t want readers to feel cheated.
Either way, I want what I write tomorrow to be better than what I write today. Balance is one of the tricks. How do I balance this desire to experiment with the pursuit of improving writing? Or better phrased, how do I experiment and publish work at the same time without putting out train wrecks? Because my fear says that I can and should do neither.
Now, to succeed financially as an indie writer, it is said that one has to be publishing multiple books a year… even more. I am averaging < ½ published per year. I need to get more done. That means more writing. My goal this year is 2, maybe 3. Then next year it’ll be 1 more than that. That is if I really decide that it is the path I want to take. Why wouldn’t it be?
The pull between wanting to write for the sake of writing and make it as a financial success through my writing has always made this who conflict more perilous. In the past, the desire to be financially salient in this endeavor has caused me to stupidly publish a couple of stories before I had properly polished them. I am not expecting perfection, but I am expecting better than yesterday.
Finances cannot be the driving force behind it all though. Even with it being somewhat of a priority, I haven’t made the efforts necessary to do any better than 0 on the sales front (granted, I’ve sold a handful through the miracle of blind squirrels finding a nut, however it had nothing to do with any marketing skills on my end). Effort is lacking on every front.
It seems to me though, that everything continually comes back to my blog. Unlike my seldom-used social media platforms, my blog is the perfect tool for all the ideas I have above. It’s 100% mine and curated 100% by me. If one goes to my site, there’s no fighting algorithms to get people to see me, because it is all me. And on here I can do all the funky crazy weird shit that I sometimes think up. I can experiment, blog on serious topics, post unedited messes to see if there is something that strikes readers, and a whole lot more. Yet, I don’t want the pressure of trying to curate this every day if I don’t believe that what I am writing in the day is worthy… I don’t know.
Obviously, I am still as of yet not fully decided on all this. I guess the best thing to do is take it one day at a time.