I’m going to be completely honest with you: The absolute last thing I want to do right now is write a blog post about writing. Especially a realistic yet slightly uplifting one aimed to inspire writers to open their works in progress and get to work pursuing their dreams.
But I’m going to do it anyway. Because that’s what a writing commitment looks like. Showing up. Doing the work. Testing your own limits, and getting better at all of the above each time you do it.
I think a lot of us are afraid to push ourselves too hard, especially when it comes to writing. We take the truths we are told and twist and mold them to fit our own narrative, and sometimes that’s not a good thing.
We hear “don’t write when you’re not into it” and we convince ourselves we can’t write because we’re too tired, too stressed, too overwhelmed, too “out of sync” (whatever that means).
We hear “don’t overwork yourself so much that you burn out” and we convince ourselves we shouldn’t write because what if it drains us? What if it leaves us unable to do the other things we have to do?
What if? Why bother? What’s the point?
I’m not going to go into detail about the things happening in my personal life right now because this isn’t a diary and none of these things are related to writing. But what I will tell you is that technically, I am fully capable of making a choice between letting life get in the way of my writing or write despite the hardships.
And clearly I’m choosing to #WriteAnyway, which has apparently become my hashtag for the year. I have too many goals, too much on my plate, to be able to afford to hide under my blankets and turn on Netflix every time things don’t go the way I wanted them to go.
At the beginning of the year, I made plenty of writing commitments. But one of them was to publish a blog post every day in 2019, as I’ve done every day since 2015 (or 2014?). I did the best I could, but I couldn’t quite schedule enough posts ahead of time to maintain the buffer I like to have in place on days like this. So it’s currently nighttime and I have to have a post ready to publish in less than 12 hours, which is, as you can imagine, not my favorite thing.
I’d love, just this once, to say, “Forget it. My readers will understand. I’m tired. I’m done.”
But what kind of example would that set? What right would I have to tell aspiring writers to write even when they didn’t feel like it, when I have to publicly admit to not writing because I didn’t feel like it? That would be more than silly. Irresponsible. Unacceptable.
I said yes to writing these posts. I am a credible source for writing advice not because I’m necessarily an “expert” but because I practice what I preach. When I make mistakes, I admit them. But I’m also here to show you why and how I avoid those mistakes.
Writing seems a lot harder than it actually is, at least in terms of the actual sitting down and doing it part.
I sat here for a long time thinking I wasn’t going to be able to write a blog post today. But look at that. I put my hands on my keyboard and started the thing and wrote until I finished it (or am in the process of doing so). I wrote anyway, because it matters to me. If writing is important enough to you, you will always find a way to make it happen no matter what.
Stop giving in to excuses … but also know your limits.
Don’t say “I’ll never.” Say, “Maybe I can’t today, but I will tomorrow.”
And don’t just say it, either. Mean it. Follow through with it.
A commitment is more than just your word. It’s actually siting down and doing something.
So even if you don’t want to write today, if you have the choice, #WriteAnyway. If it’s a choice, always choose to do it. I promise, you won’t regret it. You’ll be glad you took a deep breath and made the words happen. Well, I know I am, at least.
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.