There’s one writing-related question I hate more than any other.
“What kind of writing do you do?”
Or: “What do you write about?”
It’s questions like this that make me feel like the whole world is crashing down around me.
I don’t just write about one thing. How could I?
And then I start to tumble into an existential crisis. I wonder if normal people only write about one thing, and the fact that I do 100 things makes me abnormal, and not in a good way.
Recently I’ve really tried to scale down my Things. Except I finished that process, oh so conveniently, just in time for National Novel Writing Month.
I survived the first day, as I always do … but barely.
You see, I haven’t written fiction — seriously — in about a year.
Those first 2,000 words were … rough.
But they weren’t all for nothing. Surprise, surprise — I learned a few things.
Immediately I realized two things.
One, that fiction writing is a lot harder — and way more draining — than I remembered.
And two: I shouldn’t have gone so long without it. Writing fiction, I mean.
For a large portion of this year, I’ve felt slightly bored. It’s not that I don’t enjoy blogging (you wouldn’t be reading this right now if I didn’t). It’s not that I don’t love my job.
But doing the same thing over and over — writing about the same things day in and day out — it gets old. Your brain doesn’t like it. As much as many of us thrive on repetition, we need to toss in something new every once in awhile. Something different.
Working on a fictional piece of writing for a few hours at the end of my day made me feel something unlike anything I’ve felt in awhile. I wouldn’t call it joy. It’s more like … fulfillment.
Because even though I know it’s terrible, and the book is already a mess, and someday when I get around to editing it I’m going to hate myself, right now, it’s the writing that counts.
It’s the fact that I’m doing it. That I’m trying. That I’m making the effort to push myself to do more than I think I can do.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can’t be happy doing just one thing.
You can’t just have a job and think that’ll satisfy you.
You have to have some kind of hobby or side hustle or fun social thing you like to do with your friends on the weekends. That balance is so important in life.
And in a similar way, diversifying your writing also enriches your whole experience. It keeps you from getting bored. It hopefully helps you grow.
Apologies for the slightly shorter blog posts this week. Despite the fact that I love doing 100 things at once, you know, the creative brain can only handle so much.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.
Hey! I’m vlogging my way through NaNoWriMo. Here’s yesterday’s video.