Just wanted to check in because my last blog post was a little intense. I was able to get my prescriptions filled yesterday and the heart palpitations and crying have stopped.
I was watching the holiday episode of the Great British Baking Show and the hosts were asking everyone what their resolutions were, and, because the world revolves around me, of course I started thinking about mine.
Generally speaking, New Years resolutions are something I avoid because I already feel bad enough about my lack of achievements. But last year, I kept it really simple. I wanted to not only write more but to enjoy writing.
I figured out that the biggest obstacle to me writing isn’t the tools or skills, but the fact that writing induces so much anxiety. I want so badly to do it Right.
So, that’s what I’ve been working on lately. I think most writers want to write professionally because it’s fun and they don’t want to do anything else. I wanted to write because of how important stories were to me and because of how important I wanted my stories to be to other people.
What I’ve been focusing on lately is letting my stories be imperfect and loving them anyway. Instead of cringing at old writing or putting pressure on every story I try to write to save me from a job I hate, I’ve just been working on letting myself write Wrong.
I think I knew that that was the answer for a while, but I thought that writing Wrong would be too painful, and the truth is that it’s just straight up liberating.
If my dialogue or plots are weak, or if I forget a word or spellcheck doesn’t catch something, it’s all okay.
I’m working on a story right now called, “The Princess with Three Eyes” that started with “Once upon a time….” and that I intend to have end with “…and they all lived happily ever after”, even though I haven’t yet determined whether or not they actually will.
And every time I think about working on the story and tense up, I stop and reevaluate the pressure I’m putting on the story. The thing that gets me excited about writing again, is usually breaking a rule or going in a different direction than I’d been planning.
The reason I’m writing all of this down is because I have a theory that we ask the wrong people for their keys to success. Already successful people have the keys to living with success, which is its own beast. People who are in the midst of the struggle, trying to find their footing in the ether of their dreams, and the ones who stumble upon those keys.
The thing is, trying to figure out how to make writing fun is the part that most people start at. I skipped the fun part, so I have to do it now. Someone else’s path may be a little straightforward. Maybe they’ll start out having fun and then learn grammar, spelling, and story structure later.
There isn’t one path to success, just as there is no one definition of success. We all have our own paths and definitions. For me, success in five years would look like three completed novels with characters that I love and stories that I want to keep exploring, regardless of how flawed the writing is or whether or not I can get anyone else interested in reading what I have to write.
If I have to be a cashier or find some other job to support what I really want to be doing, that’s okay. As long as, when I sit down to write, my chest lifts, and the butterflies tickle my intestines and my characters feel like people I’m continuing a conversation with, I think I can be happy.
My goals and definition of success may be different by then, but this is where I am now.