If you’re reading this, you probably already know that being a writer is hard.
Notice I didn’t say “writing” is hard. It is, sometimes. But being a writer — being a person who spends a lot of time in front of a computer, in their own head, and generally away from people — is harder.
I did not grow up in a house full of writers. I didn’t even have that many friends who considered themselves writers, or took their writing as seriously as I found myself taking mine.
So basically my whole life, one of my biggest barriers in writing has been writing despite the barriers those around me unintentionally create.
I love my family and my friends. I love spending time with them and living in the real world.
But they do not get it. They do not get me.
When I’m still in my office at 11 p.m. working on a project, they ask why I’m still awake.
When I decide to delay mealtime due to the fact that I’m in the middle of working, they ask why I can’t just stop and come back to it later.
When I’m quiet during a conversation because I’m paying attention to an idea fluttering around in my head, they ask why I’m so quiet.
The answer is always the same: I’m creating because these are my brain’s default settings, it came this way, and I have no complaints about it.
This answer and its many variations never seem to satisfy them. So I’m left feeling guilty and distracted by this guilt, get frustrated, and then feel guilty about feeling frustrated.
It’s not anyone else’s fault I’m not normal. I don’t try to be normal. But society has this way of trying to pressure you to always do things the way they’ve always been done, and it’s not very kind to creative-minded people who work a lot because they happen to enjoy working toward very large, seemingly impossible goals.
Have you ever felt this way — like no one gets it?
Well I do. It’s the reason I created this blog. I figured out being a writer was very lonely, and that the best way to handle that was to “talk” to other writers about it.
What do you do? You keep being you. You keep writing those things, you keep creating when inspiration hits, you do everything you can to stick to your schedule and Make Words Happen. Sacrifice is part of the game. There will be people worth giving up some of your creative time for. There will be plenty of people who will try taking it away from you without your permission.
Don’t let anyone take something so sacred from your hands. Compromise is one thing. But being forced to walk away from the things that make you feel alive is not acceptable.
Those who matter will share you with your creativity, You have to give them the attention they deserve, too — and if they’re the right people, that will be something you want to do. But they’ll also be more willing to understand your weird schedule and your creative sprints and your very loud (to you) silence.
They’ll understand beceause they’ll try to understand.
Thank you for understanding how all this feels. It makes all this feel far less lonely, you know.
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.