Have you ever had one of those days?
You know the one — that sunrise that comes too early; the sunset that seems to take an eternity. Everything you try, you can’t seem to get right. No conversation ends the way you want it to. Even silence and solitude make you feel guilty, not restored.
There’s too much time to think about what you’re supposed to be doing — and whether or not what you’re trying to do is even pushing you in the right direction.
How do you know if this writing thing is even where you belong? If you haven’t “made it” by now, is it too late? Are you doing something wrong? If you are, what does the “right” thing even look like?
How do you know if this hectic life is meant for you?
The problem is … you don’t.
You don’t know if you’re writing a blog post that will go viral or a story that will sell millions of copies. You don’t know if you’ll pitch or publish something at just the right time, if you’ll end up emailing the right person on the right day, if the thing you wrote that you aren’t proud of will turn out to be the best thing you’ll ever compose.
You don’t know. But that shouldn’t stop you from writing anyway.
This road is uncertain. You can do all the “right” things, all the things the writing experts say will make you successful. But those things don’t guarantee your success. Your fate isn’t determined only by your actions. As much as you might hate to admit it, a lot of successful writers just get lucky.
So what do you do to increase your chances of “making it”?
You write even when you don’t feel like it. When you don’t think it’s any good. When you’re afraid other people will judge or criticize it. When you’re tired. When you’re sad. When you’d rather give up.
How do you guarantee you’ll never succeed? By not writing. That part, at least, is simple.
Maybe there is no “right.” Maybe there’s just persistence and determination and a refusal to give up until you start down a path that leads you to the right place.
Just keep going. For now. Because on those days it doesn’t feel like any of it is worth it, chances are, it is. You just don’t know how yet.
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.