Okay, so I didn’t write nothing. I still put out blog posts and researched local history. By writing nothing I mean nothing novel-wise. Now I know I’ve made several blog posts concerning this topic already, but I know for a fact that I wasn’t being completely honest. If you’d like to see what I mean, have a read of the following before continuing on:
- Writing Distractions: Revisited
- It’s Time to Bare My Soul (ugh such a dumb title!)
- Prioritizing My, Well, My Priorities
- Thoughts on Accepting Change
If there’s one thing maintaining a blog is good for, it’s for keeping its author honest. And if I must be completely honest with not only myself, but you as well, it’s time to come absolutely clean. Here’s today’s thesis statement: I haven’t worked on a novel project for over six months. The following three items outline exactly why I couldn’t bring myself to dive into any concept that came to mind in all that time.
Stress and Uncertainty
Ah stress and uncertainty. The two words that could accurately describe everyone’s state of mind throughout 2020. Not only that, but I found myself looking for a new job halfway through the year, and filling out all those applications while trying to work AND live life as normally as I could? Well, writing got pushed all the way to the invisible back burner.
No matter how constant a thing novel research can be, I couldn’t get inspired.
No matter how long I had a concrete idea, I couldn’t plot.
No matter how many characters I named, their stories wouldn’t leave my head.
No matter how often I sat down to write ANYTHING, the blank pages remained blank.
If you read any of the linked blog posts above, I think “Thoughts On Accepting Change” is the most important one. Because change happened all around us. And at the time I wrote that post, I was finally transitioning from one job into another.
I know for a fact that I’m not the only writer/author to feel this last year. While many channeled their stress into their projects aplenty, many others (like myself) nearly gave up on writing. I saw it in the #writingcommunity tweets, and I suppose it gave me some comfort to know I’m not alone in feeling all the stress and uncertainty. I just kept mum about it via social media and for that I am sorry.
“The truth is that stress doesn’t come from your boss, your kids, your spouse, traffic jams, health challenges, or other circumstances. It comes from your thoughts about your circumstances.”
A Constant Feeling of Inadequacy & Self Doubt
I must admit, I got jealous. Jealous of my Twitter peeps advancing in their own journeys, announcing this that and everything else. Really what it boils down to is self doubt. So, naturally, I projected my self doubt through jealousy onto those who’ve been at this writing thing years more than I.
Not that I ever said anything brash to anyone (at least, I don’t think I did). That would be a very un-Christian and unladylike thing to do. Did I read their blogs? Their books? Engage in every special announcement? Also no.
I could chalk it up to my introverted nature, but that would be a lie. You’d think I’d know how the online world operates, and in a way I do. But in others I stay away, because I was afraid to expand my tiny pool of Tweeps.
Now I know where I went wrong, and the reasons are multi-faceted. I could delve deeper into them, but they really all boil down to jealousy, inadequacy and self doubt. That’s definitely getting the turn-around in 2022!
“Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you’re riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy. Don’t bury your thoughts; put your vision to reality. Wake up and live!”
Procrastination That Became Something More
I swear, every time I come up with a novel idea I think it’s too big a project, so I put off doing anything with it. Instead I do research, blog, read up on some writerly non-fiction, and so on. Anything to avoid that idea.
Avoidance is a practice I excel in. Can you tell?
At what point did procrastination become avoidance which turned into stagnation?
All my life I’ve wanted to be an author. Sadly, my family knows me all too well: that I rarely finish what I start and I absolutely hate that about myself. And I hate that they know it.
“Getting an idea should be like sitting on a pin; it should make you jump up and do something.”
I don’t think I can count my thoughts surrounding this post as a “New Year’s Resolution.” Rather, I’ll act upon changing my approach to the writing world as I come out of my funk that was 2021.
One of these days I’m gonna prove my family wrong. One of these days I’m going to prove to myself that I can do it, I can write, all the while better learning the arts of gratitude and empathy.
The 2020s haven’t done anyone any favors when it comes to social media; not even the ones the algorithms favor. All it seems to do these days it harbor all the above. The key? Robbing it of its power and taking back control.
I am incredibly grateful for the connections and opportunities y’all afforded me in 2021.
Hopefully, within that process of taking back control, the above points will even out and I’ll be a happy little writer again. Project Star & Sea, my newest venture into the written realm, is really helping already. I ask this of you:
Will you be an accountability partner?
With the writing? With keeping these feelings of jealousy n’at in check? One or the other – it doesn’t matter. I think I’ve been going at this writing thing alone for far too long. Do you see yourself in this as well? Will you join me?
(so my apologies for quite a rambly post. I tried to stay on topic but I think I went off the rails a bit!)