I get excited about many things. I’m not always the best at what I do (I often rush), but I’m very good at sharing my enthusiasm with the people around me. People I work with appreciate me (somewhat) because I’m a good motivator, which I guess isn’t so bad, all things considered.
Sometimes, writing-wise, I let my enthusiasm carry me a little too far. As in, I’ll take one line of a song that spoke to me on a deep semi-spiritual level and write a blog post, post a tweet, make a video about it, and create a visual representation of its meaning and make it my cover photo on all relevant social media platforms.
These small bursts of obsessiveness are great in terms of creative exercise. It’s like making something based on a writing prompt your English teacher gave you in high school, except you accidentally found it yourself, and no one’s giving you a grade on your final product.
I’ve always been this way — over-excited about the things I feel connected with. I’ve obviously learned to tone it down significantly since my days of playing dress-up, still fully invested in the story my friends and I had created long after they’d lost interest and put their costumes back in the box. But when it comes to creative outlets, I’ve also learned when it’s OK to just let yourself run with something as far as you can manage to.
Writers, especially newer writers, spend a lot of time fixated on always catering to the interests of everyone they hope to reach. The problem is, it’s easy to forget in your early days that even if you only publish things a broad spectrum of people will like, you’re not going to be able to satisfy everyone enough to gain a sizable, loyal following.
This is still the case as you build an audience — part of accepting a position as a creative human is understanding that there will always be people who disagree with you or don’t care about everything you have to say. I guess that applies to life as a whole no matter who you’re talking to.
But I don’t think you can ever fully enjoy or see the worth in your work if you don’t, every once in awhile, let yourself completely “nerd out” over something that made you go, “OHMYGOSH THIS IS AMAZING I NEED TO TELL EVERYONE HOW THIS MAKES ME FEEL (excited)!”
We’re afraid to go to that extreme, sometimes, because we immediately assume no one else will share our enthusiasm (care).
To be honest, most people you know probably won’t care that much if it doesn’t resonate with them. But there’s always at least a handful of people out there somewhere who will.
And if this random thing that excites you motivates you to practice writing and refine your craft and stay consistent in your skill development, then don’t you think it’s totally worth going all out?
Not everything you write has to come from inspiration or enthusiasm or your obsessions — sometimes I take on assignments for work that have the exact opposite effect. But even with those less-exciting assignments, you have to give yourself room to also write things on your own time that make you feel like you’re on top of the virtual world.
So what gets you to this level of obsessiveness? What do you love? What could you write about every day for the next month without getting tired of it? You should write about it. Yes, right now!
It may not be profitable (yet). It may not get a ton of views or have the potential to become something everyone wants to subscribe to. But not everything you write has to fit those parameters. Sometimes you have to give yourself just one outlet that reminds you how much you love not just your obsession, but the physical act of writing about that thing.
If you’re looking for a way to “rediscover” your passion for writing, maybe this is it.
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 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.