I am working on writing about a tough topic. At about 700 words into it, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I want to say in the essay. And the writing is slow.
In truth, too often in the past I abandon these essays at the point I am at. I run out of energy and run away from going forward. Another excuse that might rear its head is that I want to focus on fictional works rather than essays. Given that my goals reside more in the camp of being an indie-novelist, writing essays does seem to counter efforts. But does it?
Writing is writing. While writing fiction does require a differing style of writing than non-fiction, it belies the fact that writing between genres and topics within both fiction and non-fiction realms all require slight variations between them. One wouldn’t write a thriller the same as they would a romance. Nor would one write a political commentary the same as a scientific news article. Each topic and genre require that writing be altered accordingly in order to correctly relay what needs to be relayed.
What I’ve missed in my thinking on a lot of this is the fact that writing also feeds more writing. Practice is practice. Whether I am writing a simple piece for my blog (like this one), a short story, a novel, or an essay, each session acts as a way to practice. I should spend less time arguing that my writing needs to be X vs Y and allow myself the opportunity to let the muse take me where she takes me.
Speaking of exercise too, I can use physical exercise as a metaphor for writing as well. One doesn’t go into the gym to only perform bench presses — even if it their absolute favorite. Or at least they shouldn’t. If one wants to be as healthy and fit as possible, they will vary the exercises as much as possible, with each set and style feeding into another — cardio helps weight training, etc, etc.
To shy away from a style or a topic that is engaging me is to ignore the benefits that I gain in the continued practice of writing itself. While my goals might be to write fiction and to earn a living doing so, if I were honest with myself, earning a living writing for writing’s sake, no matter the style or genre, would be wonderful. Plus, writing because I want to write — be it essay or story or whatever — will step me towards that goal. I simply have to accept it and do it.