I’ve been lying to myself.
We all tell lies, little stories, versions of the truth that comfort us somehow.
We justify our behaviour. Tell ourselves we don’t care about something because we’re afraid of losing it. Tell ourselves we’re more important/prettier/better than someone else, because we know we’re not.
Me? I’ve been lying to myself about not having the time to write.
The little story I’ve been telling myself is that there are two sides to me:
- Writer Anna, a creative daydreamer who loves stories and romance
- Work Anna, an efficient, no-nonsense print production manager
In the last few years, my job has grown rapidly. The more success I have, the more responsibility I’m given.
Yet this eats into my mental energy. By the time I step out of the office, my brain has turned to mush. I’m drained; I cannot face writing.
That’s why I haven’t been writing, I tell myself. No time, no energy. There’s nothing I can do about it.
That simply isn’t true.
I see authors on twitter juggling jobs, kids, partners, friends and writing without batting an eye. If they’ve found a solution, why can’t I strike that balance?
The truth is, “it’s a scheduling conflict” is a far more comforting story than “I’m lazy and/or lack motivation”. (Ironic, really, given that my day job is all about workflow management…)
Yes, work is tiring, and I need to pay the bills, and I need a social life… but it’s a lie to say that I’m doing everything I can.
Ultimately I have two options:
Keep lying to myself, and pretend there is nothing I can do to change the status quo.
Or admit that however I ended up in this creative rut, this dry spell of blank pages, it’s my responsibility to find a solution — because no one else will.
Now, let me get those schedules out…
You know my secret: 750words.com. Right now there’s a charge for your account, but I’m lucky enough to have a free lifetime account, and I contribute when I can.
I write every day there. Not as an obligation, but because it’s become customary to me. I’ve been writing in journal mode for months, but usually I also write my two weekly short stories there.
Mind me, I also feel guilty, because I really want to write a few long stories (let’s call them that for now, shall we?) and instead of that I tell myself:
1. Oh, but you *do* write everyday. And that counts, doesn’t it?
2. And you write two short stories per week. And post them. You never stop learning.
But I digress. What I mean is: you could take up 750words.com (or a free alternative; there are several of them out there, and some with a lower word count) and just use it. It *is* doable.
Sorry for the late reply – I went on holiday!
I think a daily target is too much for me, because as soon as I skip a day I become disheartened… And if I do end up working late and having dinner out, I won’t be able to hit that target.
I’ve decided I’m going to keep Tuesday nights free for writing every week, and go from there to see if I can increase my writing time.
Hello Vincente! We used to chat almost everyday on the 1889 Labs FB page. I hope you have been well and your writing productive.
Yes, one evening a week is a good compromise and it can be a good stimulus, too. Just remember to take notes when ideas come to you on the tube and it’s only Friday night. :)
Pleasure to hear from you Letitia, how have you been??
I’m hoping to increase it to two days a week with the second day free floating around my social commitments. One step at a time!
I’m wondering whether it’s less daunting to commit to set times as opposed to set word counts. That way you don’t beat yourself up if you have a slow day…
Give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen? Crippling self-doubt, nightmares, death from despair? No, never fear. The sun always comes up again and you can give it another go. :)
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