I spend a lot of time each week creating content for this blog and my YouTube channel (where I talk about all the writing things). As I should — when I decide to do something, I go all in, and the more time I spend on it, the better the quality of whatever I happen to be working on at the time.
This is, however, valuable time I don’t always feel like I have. Let’s say I spend 10 hours per week doing Novelty Revisions work (it’s probably more than that, but whatever). That’s 10 hours I could spend working on my own projects.
Instead, I spend that time writing about writing. Teaching/Helping other people do their own writing instead of working on my own. I think that’s time well spent. Many may disagree.
I’ll never forget the time I heard an author say during a Q&A, “Stop wasting your time writing about writing and actually write something!” She meant well, and probably could have worded it better, but that has stuck with me for a long time. Is it a waste of time to write about your writing journey?
I view this through the lens of my own experience, as many writers do. If I never would have started writing about my life as a writer, this blog wouldn’t be what it is today, I may have never been hired for my first writing “job,” and who knows how things may have ended up then?
True, if it were meant to happen it would have happened another way (probably). But I have my blog to thank for the majority of the opportunities I have earned as a writer. That’s just where I’m coming from.
When it comes down to it, though, there is one big reason I haven’t quit blogging about writing in pursuit of other things. And it’s not money, because all the content on my site is free, I refuse to place ads on any of its pages, and my Patreon page doesn’t have much to offer its members, so no one gives much. That’s fine. I’m fine.
It’s not recognition, because at this point, there are way too many blogs like mine and no one really cares except those who take the time to read it — thanks, if you’re one of those. You rock. You rock regardless, but you get my point.
It’s because I have worked for a long time to develop a very difficult skill. I’m not talking about the writing skill in general: Anyone can learn to write, if they put the time and effort into doing so. I’m talking about the ability to actually sit down with an idea and make it into something worth sharing.
Not everyone knows how to do that. I’m very fortunate to have been able to put in the energy and resources — and that I had the support, in the beginning — to do that. I know I’m lucky. I also know that I worked hard, and I don’t want that effort to go to waste.
So while I’m working on building my writing and storytelling skills so I can fulfill my own dreams of publishing something, I spend a lot of time trying to help other people set and achieve their own writing goals.
That is why I do what I do. Because there are people out there struggling to do what they want to do, and this is the only way I really know how to help.
Do my words make a difference? Maybe, sometimes, for a moment. Some people say that if they’re able to help one person be better they’re satisfied, and I’m happy to dive headfirst into that boat. Some people just need to hear their dreams are worth chasing. Some need to be reminded their words are worth the effort. If no one else is going to give them that, maybe I can.
I’m not the best mentor or coach (yet). I talk about myself too much, I sometimes still forget what it’s like living outside my own world. These are things I’m working on. I don’t think we should ever stop learning, whether we’re in a position that allows us to teach other people or not.
Even still, I am so happy waking up and getting to do what I do every day. I wish I had even more time to dedicate to this thing I’ve worked so hard to build. I’m doing the best I can, and for now, that’s good enough. I hope that when you come here, whether it’s your first time or your thousandth, you find value in at least one of the many words I have written here over the past 10+ years.
I don’t think writing about writing is a waste of time at all. At least not for me. My focus is on other people, to help them grow and fall in love with what they do. It’s nice to be able to vent about my struggles and be honest about what I’m not good at, but it’s not about me. It’s always about you. Every personal story I have to share, every rant, it’s all aimed at helping you.
Thanks for sticking with me. This journey is still just getting started.
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.