Do It Anyway
I think a lot of us are coming off a rough year. 2016 seems to have been a beast for a lot of people I know. The last four to six months have been a complete stress sandwich for me as well. I swore that I would not make resolutions on New Year’s Eve for the coming year. And I have kept that promise. But I thought I would share a little post by one of my favorite inspirations who seems to know how to give us a kick in the butt when we need it.
Chuck Wendig wrote a post about writers’ resolutions and how most writing advise is BS anyway. But he asked us to do one thing in the coming year. Write, despite.
This has stuck with me for the last few weeks as I have continued to face stress and change in my life. Challenges in my personal life or in my day job tend to make me less creative. Let’s face it – when you are worried about a loved one’s health, or a major life change that is coming down the pike, you don’t have a lot of energy to focus on anything beyond breathing in and breathing out.
And the end of 2016 was no different for me.
Every word written felt like it was dragged kicking and screaming from the depths of my soul to be splashed unceremoniously on the page or post. I have postponed my virtual meetings with my editor on book #2 until things settle a bit. I have not written any new fiction and have even struggled to focus on reading for pleasure, an escape that I have always turned to when the going got tough. If someone asked me about my writing in the last few months, I have felt like a total fraud.
Phew! There I said it. Full confession. These last six months, I have become a writer who doesn’t write. Not much at least. A blog post a week and not a word more.
Does this make me any less a writer? No, I like to think not. It makes me a creative person struggling in the face of life. And I think I have a lot of company there.
So, Chuck’s advice – Write, despite. What does that mean? It means no matter what we are facing, whether it is worry for another, a personal struggle, a big but happy life change, or fear for the future of the world, we write. We push through it and drop our words like breadcrumbs and hope that we can follow the path to the other side. It means that we write even when the problems or challenges we are facing seem so much bigger than our little story, when our words seem insignificant and frivolous, when we can’t get past “why bother?”.
I remember writing my first novel. It was such a sweet release to come home from a long, stressful day and just lose myself in this fictional world I was creating. Even when I came across a major plot issue, or felt like my story would never find an audience, I kept going because it was an escape.
I am going to take Chuck’s challenge to write, despite, or in spite of it all. I am going to find that escape again.