Sometimes you get tired.
Sometimes you just want to give up.
Sometimes you wonder why you keep writing, even when it never seems to pay off.
Here are five moments to help remind you it’s still worth it. Every single word.
1. Brain Rush
The term “brain crack” has already been coined, but brain rush is my own take on the same concept. I don’t know about you, but when I get an idea, I don’t just get one idea. Ideas come to me one right after the other, in a rush (the inspiration for my post about idea insomnia). Sometimes I have to stop what I’m doing and get them down in the Notes app on my phone just to slow my heart rate.
I don’t know about you, but this feeling is what I live for. It reminds me that creativity is part ambition, part experience. But mostly, creativity is latching onto ideas as they spontaneously form inside your head and refusing to let go.
2. Writing Something You’re Proud Of
A lot of the time I’m hesitant to promote my own work. I still do it, because I love being able to share my work with others with the hope they’ll gain something from reading what I have to say. But every once in a while I’ll write a sentence or a paragraph or even a whole chapter, and sit back and let myself be proud.
It’s a difficult thing for “down-to-earth” writers to do. But I think part of the process is learning that the more confident you are in your accomplishments, and the more you’re willing to recognize that you can do good work and it’s for a good reason, that’s when you know your career is far from over, even if it hasn’t really started yet.
3. Solving a Mystery
I’m going to do an entire post on this concept, because I pulled a quote from yesterday’s post and sort of fell in love with it (see? Learning to appreciate my own words, and hoping I’m not coming off the wrong way in doing so). The idea is that to come up with a way to work backwards. You know the ending; you have to figure out how to lead your readers up to that ending. In doing this, you have to solve your own mysteries, figure out the internal complexities, make it all work somehow.
There’s this moment, every now and then: you’ve either inserted a small detail but are debating removing it or you have a good ending but don’t know how your characters get from point A to point B. Every once in awhile, the solution just clicks. “I figured it out,” you say to yourself. It’s hard to explain, but the sense of achievement is almost tangible.
4. Compliments and Criticism
You’re never going to please everyone, no matter how diverse you make your characters, themes, genres or motifs. There are always going to be readers who enjoy your work and those who don’t. Some will tell you how they feel. Some won’t.
I appreciate both. I appreciate when someone lets me know I’m doing a good job and when someone says “I wish you would do this.” To me, any commentary is constructive. It means I’m saying something that moves people to respond. I don’t write to gain followers. (It’s nice, but if I only had 10, I’d be just as content as I am right now.) I write to build community. To start conversations. No matter the type of feedback, knowing I’m reaching someone and it means something, that’s more rewarding than any number of subscribers could ever be.
5. Completing a Finished Draft
If you’ve experienced the combined relief and anticipation that accompanies finishing the first draft of a writing project, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, let that be your motivation to keep going. It’s the moment you sit back and realize all your hard work wasn’t all for nothing. It’s the moment you decide, “Well, I’ve made it this far. I want to see how much further I can take it.”
It’s not the same as finishing a big paper for school or a long-term assignment at work. If writing isn’t your full-time job, no one is forcing you to do it. That means every word you write is your choice. And knowing you’ve put in maybe years worth of an effort toward something you’ve motivated yourself to complete … I can honestly say that’s one of the most rewarding parts of writing stories on my own.
It’s been along time since I’ve experienced #5. But I can’t wait to experience it again.
Writing is your passion.
You were born to do this.
It’s still worth it. Your words still matter.
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.
A recent graduate with a B.A. in English and a completed major in nutrition, currently seeking a graduate degree in health communication, Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and dietetics. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi (and the mastermind behind this site), Meg is an editor for College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine’s Stone Soup. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink magazine. Follow Meg on Twitter.