When was the last time you wrote something for fun?
When was the last time you responded to a comment about a mistake or negative feedback with, “Haha oops I’m a goof my bad”?
When was the last time you genuinely enjoyed writing a thing even before you finished it?
If you can’t remember, then you’re a lot like me.
You’re taking your writing a LITTLE too seriously. And yes. That’s bad.
Because even though hard work does eventually pay off and writing sometimes means you have to give up fun things for a minute until you’re done with your current project, you can’t just do work all day every day.
No matter how much you think you might love that. You wouldn’t.
Really. Can you even remember the last time you didn’t associate creativity with your to-do list?
You do know it’s possible to make things without it really … mattering. Right?
I know, I know. I forget sometimes, too.
That’s why it’s important to remember that sometimes you have to just take a deep breath and let it out slowly.
Learn to laugh at yourself.
Remember that just because you start writing something doesn’t mean you have to publish it — or that you’re somehow a failure if you don’t.
Just because it’s “already been done” doesn’t mean you can’t do it your own way.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the best book ever written or merely an attempt at something readable.
It doesn’t matter if the blog helps other people or just helps you sort through your many thoughts.
Stop trying to be perfect. Stop trying to be “the best.”
There’s a time and a place for it. And it can’t be all the time, every place you go.
Because writers who only work and never play burn out. They drop out. They take a lot of breaks. And many of them never return to writing. At least, not with the same passion they used to have for it.
Yes, writing is a job. Sometimes you have to take it quite seriously if you want to be successful.
But successful people aren’t always on. They have an off switch.
That’s how they endure the grind for so long. They leave themselves room to breathe.
Sometimes, they do what they love to do just to have fun.
Find that balance. Work hard. Play often. Do what you enjoy, but don’t also forget to enjoy what you do. Don’t take every rejection so hard. Don’t treat silence as something you’ve done wrong.
Writing is a difficult thing. But it doesn’t have to be that way every hour of every day.
Relax. Smile. Laugh. It’s OK. You’re still a real writer.
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.