If you have followed me for awhile, you know I’m not hesitant to be transparent about my emotions. Being a writer pretty much automatically means you have to be willing to share how you’re feeling, because your words don’t come without bringing a little bit of you along with them.
Most of the time when I sit down to write posts for this blog, I stick to focusing on writing for the person who matters most of all: you. Every once in awhile, though, I have to shift that focus. You are all important to me, and sometimes that means I need to be completely honest with you no matter how much that scares me.
I really can’t write about anything else at the moment, yet I can’t move on to my next task until this is finished. That’s how words and emotions work. Sometimes you just know you have to write about something, to let it go and move on.
I am struggling hard right now. Really hard. A few weeks ago I took on my first two freelance writing assignments without realizing how much work they were actually going to be. It has surprised me not because I’m not willing to put in the time and effort – I am, because that is what it takes – but because I did not think it would take so much out of me.
I am trekking through my last eight months of graduate school right now, which is great. But I have not experienced what it’s like, for real, to work actual part-time and do side writing gigs and try to blog like the pro I’m not and write novellas and write books … AND study.
You would think that writing homework would be just like any other writing assignment, but it’s not. I am weird about grades. Paranoid. More so than I am about getting paid to write articles for clients, because they are paying me with the expectation that I’ll do, dare I say, A+ work, and I do it. There is too much room to slack off when all you’re getting is a grade, and I’m always afraid I won’t do my best.
Writing this second novella (I’m getting pretty close to finishing the first draft) has been a struggle. I haven’t been able to work on my full-length book very much or write other articles with so many other things to do, and I’m not used to this. I’m trying to be positive about it, but it’s been a really tough adjustment.
This also means the content I publish here hasn’t been turning out as good as I want it to, and that upsets me most of all. You are always my priority. I want to be able to give you the best advice and make you think and be here for you. And here I am ranting about how hard this lifestyle is, when all I’ve ever wanted to do is show you that you can get through it.
It isn’t that writing, as a job, isn’t fun. It’s just … more writing than you expect. It’s really long days and remembering you’re doing it for someone else. You have to set aside time, time you would normally spend doing something completely brainless, to write for yourself, because it’s impossible to do all this work without leaving some room for you.
That’s why I’m writing this post. And it’s selfish, and I know that. But at the same time, I’m not going to apologize for it. Every once in awhile, we have to be selfish. Because writing is hard work and it makes your brain tired and your hands start to hurt (probably not a good sign) and you start to wonder if this is really what you want to do for the rest of your life.
It still is, though. What I want to keep doing, I mean. The first months are hard; I know that. I know you just have to keep pushing through it and write and be strong and take breaks. I just wasn’t expecting to be left feeling so drained. It makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, when in reality, I know it’s because I’m (finally) doing something right.
Never lose hope, okay? If you’ve ever felt like this, or you’re feeling like this now, just hang in there. I believe it gets better, or it will, if you just keep at it. Mistakes and rewrites and bad paragraphs and plot holes are just part of learning.
No idea if this helped you or I just complained for 900 words straight, but either way, you are awesome and I am glad you are here.
It’s okay to be selfish. As long as you don’t stop writing.
Image courtesy of Daniel/flickr.com.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.