Let’s jump right into the no-nonsense side of writing advice you all secretly love.
As a writer, you’re going to spend a lot of time — hours upon hours — writing things you couldn’t care less about.
And things that bore you.
Things you wish you could just hand off to someone else, so you’d have more time to write the “fun” stuff.
Very few writers make a living only writing things they’re fully invested in and enthusiastic about. Especially right at the beginning of their respective timelines.
Chances are, you’re going to have to settle for a writing job you’d rather not have. A handful of clients who treat their freelancers like slaves. Some deal that benefits others more than it benefits you.
We have to sacrifice a lot to slowly work our way up to the top of the hill — and maybe further on to the peak of a mountain. Whatever that means for you on your writing path of choice.
You don’t get anywhere in writing without spending a lot of time climbing, carrying a lot on your back, your eyes constantly on your end goal — because that’s all you seem to have to look forward to.
You also won’t get very far along that climb if you don’t have small things to keep you motivated. Personal projects that make every painful step feel worth it. Seemingly insignificant goals that matter so much to you that they’re the things that get you out of bed in the morning.
Excitement is one of creativity’s best motivators. When we feel inspired to make things, part of that is an intense feeling of excitement. I can’t wait to write this thing! I can’t wait to go to this place! I can’t wait to connect with these people and learn these new things!
Not everyone has to have, or can handle, a side project or “hustle” on top of all their other responsibilities. I’m not saying you have to constantly work on five things at once if you ever want to be successful.
But I do believe everyone needs some kind of hobby, whether it’s writing-related or not, to balance out the work that seems boring or pointless. I write full-time, but sometimes, sitting down to write a blog post outside of work reminds me that even though the work I’m doing during the day isn’t always my favorite, I still like to write, and I have the power to choose to still write things I genuinely care about.
We can’t all just walk around, frustrated and angry all the time. Most of us, whether we know it or not, are at our most creative when we’re excited. So whether it’s writing about Star Wars or making music or programming games, you should seek out at least one thing that makes you feel alive. Something that helps you get through the days writing for a paycheck doesn’t make you happy.
If you’re a true creative, there’s already something like this in your life. Your brain never truly rests. There’s always something you wish you could try, something you want to get better at. So do that thing. You can be a writer by day and do something else creative by night — or you can write somewhere else, about your passion, whether you get paid for that or not.
Be excited. If nothing else seems to be able to motivate you, maybe that will.
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.