What I Mean When I Say ‘I Don’t Have Time to Write That’

I’m not lazy, I’m not distracted. I’m overwhelmed.

An amazing writing opportunity just waltzed its way into my inbox. I fell in love with it right away.

And then I turned it down.

My heart hurts. I’m literally hot with frustration. I WANTED TO DO THE WRITING THING.

But I couldn’t. Because I do not have time for it.

And no, I don’t mean “I would rather watch Netflix all evening every evening than work on this project with you.”

I mean I ACTUALLY don’t possess the time required to say “yes.”

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Writing Is a Performance, and the Show Must Go On

No matter what, you must find a way forward. Always.

Even if you’d rather go to the dentist every day for the rest of your life than listen to even three minutes of electric violin music, it’s hard to deny that Lindsey Stirling’s rise to stardom is one of the most inspirational modern success stories a creator can draw positive energy from.

I’ll admit, I’m a long-time fan and probably one hundred percent biased here. But you can’t watch Lindsey’s America’s final Got Talent performance, listen to the judges pretty much tell her she doesn’t belong on stage, and look at how far she has come thinking, “Eh. So what?”

I could write an entire series of posts on what writers can learn from her story. But for now I want to talk about Lindsey Stirling as a performer — particularly, why she didn’t quit her national tour after finding out her dad wasn’t going to survive his cancer diagnosis.

There is a time for laying down and feeling your feelings. And then there is a time for packaging those feelings up, strapping them to your back, and continuing on no matter how much you don’t want to.

There’s you, the human. And then there’s you, the performer. And sometimes when you’re performing, you have to leave you, and all your baggage, backstage.

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It’s a Great Idea — But Is It a Great Idea Right NOW?

Probably not.

Guys. I have a new idea.

I know, I know. You’re all pounding your fists and screaming “MEG STOP YOU DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ANOTHER THING WE ARE CONCERNED.”

First of all calm down. I said I had an IDEA, not that I was starting another project.

But I’m considering starting another project. So there’s that.

Here’s the thing: We can’t stop new ideas from showing up on our doorsteps unannounced. Nor do we want to. Ideas are a lot like friends. When you’re actively trying to get one to talk to you, no one answers your texts, but the second you snuggle into your introvert hole with a drink and a good book, everyone and their cousin suddenly wants to hang out. Cool cool cool.

But there is this thing I like to call “idea management.” It’s like time management, but instead of figuring out how to make the best use of your time, it’s a process to help you decide which of your ideas are worth pursuing when, and which ones need to be put on hold or kept in storage.

I’m not going to call myself an expert in this area because, well, I’m not. I’m over here almost shaking because of how excited I am to [not] start this project even though I know that doing so would be a very, very bad idea. Why? Because I’m doing too many things. You already know this. Such is the life of a writer who wants to share more of her thoughts with the universe.

But there’s at least one thing I do know for absolute certain: I am not the only one who wants to cuddle every single idea close to my heart and love and squeeze it until it becomes a finished product.

Of course it’s easy to get distracted by every new idea that comes your way. So shiny! But the key to not letting everything else in your life fall apart for the sake of this one new thing is to take a deep breath and hold it … keep holding … keep holding …

Yeah I have no idea how to do this sorry DID I SAY YOU COULD BREATHE?!

Continue reading “It’s a Great Idea — But Is It a Great Idea Right NOW?”

Writers, Be Honest: What REALLY Scares You About Self-Promotion?

Be honest.

Do you like promoting your own work? Like REALLY like it?

We all feel a rush of excitement the moment we are able to share even the smallest writing accomplishments with the world. It’s totally normal to want to show off what you’re doing — after all, when you’re proud of your hard work, you certainly deserve the reward of being able to put it out there for other people to see, if you want to.

But even if you do look forward to being able to publicly celebrate your achievements, there might also be a part of you that’s dreading the moment — and if it’s not the promotion itself that has you worried, it’s much more likely anticipating people’s reactions to it that unsettles your stomach.

Not every writer dislikes or is afraid of self-promotion. But it does slow many people down and prevent them from sharing their work with more potential readers.

What is it about promoting your own work that feels intimidating? Is there a right and wrong way to self-promote? And how do you know whether or not you’re putting your work out there without spamming everyone you know?

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You’ll Never Get Around to Writing All the Stories In Your Heart

And this is the way of things.

I’m sorry if this blog post takes your mind to places you’d rather it not go right now. I didn’t ask for this topic to pop into my head, it sort of grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me and started screaming until I could get to my computer to start unfolding it. So. I apologize in advance if this is Too Much. It’s a Friday night for me. I’ve had a long week and all the big thoughts are having their moment. I have to respect that.

That being said, let’s get into the truth bomb of the week: Someday, we’re all going to die.

(I’M SORRY.)

It’s true, though. This life we’re living is not a forever thing. I’m not particularly interested in thinking too much about this because, you know, Anxiety. But again. My brain is on a train heading to Deep Town and I can’t stop it now.

And knowing this — that every moment that passes is one moment closer to our last — really makes me worry about all the stories I’m never going to get to write.

Because, of all the things to worry about when it comes to the end of things, this is what my brain chooses to focus all its remaining energy on. Fantastic.

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12 Reasons Writing Makes Us Cry

WE JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS.

1. Usually when you’re writing on your own time, you’re working on a story that is meaningful to you in some special way.

2. Stress. So much stress.

3. There are moments when everything falls into place, and your story comes together, and it’s everything you hoped it would be, and come on, who wouldn’t cry after that?

4. Stories can move you deeply even when you’re the one telling them.

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I Spent Years Searching for a Book I Never Found. So I Wrote It Instead.

Can’t find it? Write it.

When you’re going through something, in an attempt to feel less alone while you do, you often look for other people who “get it.” Support groups. Case-specific online channels. Blogs. The list goes on.

Sometimes when you don’t want to reach out to other people, you look for this support in things like TV shows and art and poetry.

We all, sometimes without meaning to, embark on a personal journey to find something that conveys the feelings we can’t always put into words ourselves. Who hasn’t spent an hour scrolling through their music library looking for the perfect song that speaks to how they’re feeling? Who hasn’t plugged keywords into Tumblr hoping to find an inspirational quote totally reflective of their current circumstances?

It’s not quite as easy to do this with books, I’ve personally found. Every book I’ve ever discovered that has captured my situation almost perfectly, I have found by accident. I didn’t know Tell the Wolves I’m Home would help me cope with my grief until a friend gifted it to me and I sobbed through half of it.

What happens when you’re looking for “the book” that defines your moment, or your turning point, or your past — or your future — and you just can’t find it anywhere?

You write it.

Continue reading “I Spent Years Searching for a Book I Never Found. So I Wrote It Instead.”

The End of the Story

It is the end of so many things you never thought you would find.

I never realized, before now, how easy it is to start writing a book and forget that at some point you are actually going to have to finish writing it.

Of course we all know that books have beginnings, middles, and ends. Of course we know all our stories eventually have to conclude. But often when we jump on an idea for a story we don’t necessarily always know the ending. We know certain parts of it or maybe even just one key event that fits somewhere in the narrative, though we might not even be sure where.

All stories must end. But not all writers enjoy the whole road to the ending.

Toward the home stretch, writing begins to feel like a race to the conclusion of a very long jog. You just want to get it done. You crave that sense of relief, that moment of, “I temporarily do not have to worry about this.”

But endings come with their own challenges. And joys. And anxieties.

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Your Work Matters, Even When It Feels Like No One’s Reading It

Feeling like nothing you’re writing is worth it? Read this.

If no one ever read your work, would you keep writing anyway?

I addressed this question years ago when Novelty Revisions was still, technically, new and figuring things out. The consensus in the comments was that most people would continue to write without any hope of an audience, but that they would do so more “freely” and less often.

Which explains exactly why writers who are trying to build an audience for their work struggle so much when their work doesn’t seem to be attracting an audience. If you’re putting in all this work and effort and time and nothing’s happening, is it even worth continuing?

On the days when you’re feeling at your worst — like no one cares about your work and you should just stop trying so hard — what should you do? Should you keep going? Should you slow down or take a break or stop completely? And how do you know if your work “matters” when no one’s telling you one way or the other?

Maybe the advice I have to offer you isn’t what you’re looking for. But it’s the method that has helped me most throughout my writing life, and though it may not be what you want to hear, sometimes there are some things you NEED to hear instead.

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How to Stay Interested In Your Story Long Enough to Finish Writing It

What makes a story interesting from beginning to end?

Have you ever sat down to work on a writing project in progress and realize you just … don’t want to?

And I’m not talking about the totally normal “wow it’s been a long day I would really much rather be horizontal on a couch watching Veronica Mars reruns than work on my book” feeling we all experience sometimes. I mean a total, full disinterest in a project you were once excited about.

It’s pretty safe to guess you’ve hit plenty of walls like this. It’s one of the most frustrating things that happens to writers at all levels. All of a sudden, it seems, you just don’t want to keep moving forward.

And if this has happened to you more than once, you may have wondered — might still be wondering, especially if you’ve stumbled upon this blog post — if there’s something you did wrong. Something you did or didn’t do that caused a sudden drop in your interest in the story you were once so invested in.

The truth is, it may not be your fault entirely. You see, all writers are always learning regardless of how much they may have written in the past, and it’s quite possible you’re still figuring out the ingredients that make up the recipe of an interesting story.

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