Happy Tuesday everyone! Hopefully this week has treated you well so far. I can’t complain on my end. Despite working long hours at the day job, and dealing with the usual chores at home, plus spending time with my boyfriend, I still managed to write and am almost done with the latest draft of my novel 32 Seconds.
Finding balance as a writer is difficult. I often complained how little time I dedicated to my passion. Over the years, I felt I was giving less and less attention to my work, and got scared I’d lose it all. There’s nothing more frightening than feeling like I would never make it, that my draft would never see the light of day, and that I’d just be a dreamer and not an achiever. Time is precious. Time is rare. The key is to steal these few minutes every day in order to focus and write.
I got distracted by side projects – which helped me develop my craft – so I can’t really consider them a waste of time. Yet, I still beat myself up because the muse is screaming in the background. Every author I met and talked to has a different system to find balance and dedicate time to writing. I do the following: write four nights a week, between 9 pm and midnight. When I can’t manage to squeeze writing time on these nights, I try to catch up on weekends. It’s a tough process. I’m not gonna lie. But if writing is really a passion, a calling I should say, then you’ll find time to write no matter what happens in your life.
I always had the tendency to swallow more than I could chew. I wanted to finish a draft in two months. I simply couldn’t. And it’s okay. We all work at a different pace. When I still feel overwhelmed and want to throw everything out of the window, I tell myself I have time. If I don’t feel like writing, I don’t force it. The creative process cannot be measured in hours or days spent staring at the blank sheet of paper on my computer screen. When words want to flow, they come out.
My mind is the place where the story takes shape. And I write day in day out inside my brain.
Stephen King said “Don’t wait for the muse.” And you know what, I gave the muse way too much attention in the past. Now I tell the muse to shut up. Writing is a difficult craft, and doesn’t offer any luxurious status unless you break the bestseller list. If the objective is to be on that list, you’ve lost the battle. If the objective is to write with your heart, and give the world your voice without expecting anything in return, then you’re on the right track. Many would say, “I want to be a famous writer someday.” Guess what? Everyone wants to get rich quickly. The trick is to focus on what you as a writer can achieve. And you can change someone’s life with one single copy of your book.
I was distracted for too long by trivial concerns. I wanted to write the best story that would sell the most. I wanted to be the next JK Rowling. I wanted to show everyone what a badass writer I was.
Such bullcrap. I don’t need to prove anyone anything. Writing is work. Work takes practice. Practice makes perfect. I finally understood my purpose as an artist. I simply express myself and I enjoy what I do. Writing is like working out for me. It helps me feel human. It helps me stay in touch with my true self. I am in pain, sweat bullets, pant and think for a few seconds I can’t do it, but at the end of the day, whether I’ve written three words or three thousand, I feel whole.
Finding balance is a tough exercise. And I still have my moments where I doubt. The mountain I decided to climb will not give itself to me. I need to show determination and endurance. Writing is probably the most beautiful gift I was given. Doing what I love on a regular basis is enough for me now. The rest shall happen if the stars align perfectly. And I don’t have control over the stars. So why worry about them?
I am a writer, and my job is to write.
And as William Feather beautifully said, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.”
End of story.