Sometimes when I’m stuck and I’m not sure what to write about next, I go deep into this blog’s archives, to a time long before Novelty Revisions.
I’m talking 2009 – the year I started blogging for the first time.
It’s been a particularly rough few weeks for me. It’s Sunday, and I have hours of work left to do before the work week resets tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how long you do this stuff … there are always going to be challenges. Sometimes you trip over hurdles. I’ve been doing it for a week straight now, constantly feeling like I’m failing somehow, despite two separate clients saying, “You know, you’re doing a really great job. I just want you to know. Thank you.”
I’m tired. It’s as simple, and yet complicated, as that.
I’m not going to sit here and complain. But if you haven’t figured it out already, the struggle is real. It’s exhausting and a bit repetitive. But it’s worth it. I’m grateful to have a constant challenge to go up against. Seven years ago I wrote a blog post complaining about how easy my AP English homework was (too easy – or “frightfully easy,” as I phrased it). Who was I, to complain to the internet about not being challenged enough instead of doing something about it?
Two years after that almost to the day I almost quit my English major because it was “too easy.” I would love to say I don’t recognize this person, but there’s a reason I’m tired. I keep trying to do more, more, more, because FOMO. It’s knocked me down in the past and continues to do so. A month after I wrote that blog post about my homework being too easy, I remember completely breaking down in front of my English teacher because life was hard and the idea of college was scary and I was tired.
I literally don’t have time for crying and ice cream now. But in a way, blogging is my therapy. I don’t like writing about myself. But sometimes you have to. Sometimes honesty is what counts.
Sometimes I go back and read things I wrote about, back when this was just my personal blog – me writing about writing, about homework, about weird thoughts I felt the need to share with the world. I do this not because I enjoy reading things my past self wrote, but because growth – personally; professionally – is so, so hard to measure. It’s so hard to write something in the present and realize, “Wow, I’ve come such a long way.” That is, unless you dare to reflect. Unless you dare to go back and read things you don’t even remember writing.
It’s not about criticizing yourself, but appreciating how the challenges you have faced – and lack thereof – have shaped who you have become as a writer. I wouldn’t be the kind of writer I am today if I hadn’t been a bored, frustrated 17-year-old. I probably never would have even considered making a career out of freelance writing. It still amazes me, how time brings so much change.
Do it. Go back and read something you wrote seven years ago. A blog post; a journal entry; an email to a friend. In some ways, you’re a completely different person. In others, you’re exactly the same. It’s fun, pointing out the similarities and discrepancies. Once you get past the cringe factor. It’s not that bad. It might even help motivate you to write something new – knowing that you’ve made progress, and will continue to do so, as long as you keep writing.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.