Writing Still Makes Me Happy

I’ve let fear stop me from doing a lot of things throughout my life.

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I used to be afraid that the moment I started getting paid to write, I would never enjoy it again.

I was out of college for over a year before I figured out that the pressure I had always thought would come from having to write for a job was actually coming from everywhere and everything else. School, relationships, adulting. Things got in the way of writing all the time. But the moment I would sit down to write, and didn’t have anything else hanging over my head, all that stress would disappear.

Not every writer is like this. No two writers are the same. Some feel pressured to write, and that’s what keeps them writing. There’s nothing wrong with that. Some don’t feel pressured to write at all, which is ideal, except they sometimes have a hard time getting as much writing done as they’d like.

I’m somewhere in-between, I guess. I think, in some strange way, writing energizes me. Like if I could never write again, I wouldn’t be able to function. That’s kind of a scary thought.

I’ve let fear stop me from doing a lot of things throughout my life. But being afraid that adding a sense of urgency to my writing would make me hate it never felt like a justifiable fear to me. I just decided one day that I needed to give it a try before I decided I wasn’t going to like it. It took a few months to find work. Then I realized I was in love with it before I’d even started. And I’ll never go back.

I’m writing this post after spending 12 straight hours on an assignment for my graduate class. I cried a lot. I’m tired. It was really weird thinking about how I would much rather be working than doing homework. I never would have thought that in college. I won’t lie to you, once you start this whole writing for real thing, you really want to do it full-time. At least, you don’t want to do things you did when you weren’t working, like school.

I write a lot for my classes, but this class in particular has been a challenge for me. I’m not good with numbers. At all. They give me anxiety. I’m behind on my novella and April is almost over. I was planning on working on it today, and I just can’t. It’s late. I’m sorry for all the whining. I just want to write!!!! My characters are lonely!!!!!!

I feel like everything I’ve done this month has been sloppy and unhelpful and wrong. I knew this month was going to be hard and I didn’t prepare myself enough for it. Life’s pressures, all these things in and out of my control, just threw everything off balance. I’m sad.

But the pressure to write, even though I’m technically behind, it’s not there. All the other pressures are just sitting on my keyboard and preventing me from writing. Maybe that’s the problem. If all we had to do all day was write, maybe we really would. That’s why non-writers don’t understand why being a writer is so hard. Because we don’t, we can’t, just sit in a chair writing all day. We have other responsibilities. THAT’S what makes it hard.

If you want to write, if you want that to be your job and then someday maybe your career, don’t worry about the pressure. It’s not the pressure of writing you’ll have to worry about. Someday we’ll all figure out how to balance all this madness. Someday. Not today. But soon.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

Three Ways to Make Writing a Fulfilling Activity

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It’s been a long day, and by the time you finally get home to your lonely couch cushions, writing is the last thing you feel like doing no matter how many ideas scurry around in your brain. These mental blocks have been coming up a lot lately. Maybe you’re not quite sure where the problem lies. Are you bored? Too comfortable?

Experiencing that feeling of boredom and discontentment with your current writing project is normal. If writing is a constant stressor, though, you might need to take a step or two backward and consider these ways to make writing more fulfilling from day to day.

Discover Your Passions

Figuring out what you’re passionate about isn’t as difficult as you might believe. All you need to do is pay attention to common “trends” in your life. Which channels do you subscribe to on YouTube? Who do you follow on Twitter? What drives you to start a thread of commentary on a Facebook post? These aren’t just things you’re knowledgeable about. It’s likely you subscribe, follow and comment on these topics because you love to learn about them. More importantly, you probably don’t hesitate to share these topics with others. And you shouldn’t!

The best thing you can do for your future as a writer is to learn about, and in turn write shamelessly about, the things you like the most. If you like music, write about music. If you’re interested in fashion, write about fashion. Write about your passion often; don’t worry about whether or not your followers will get bored with it. If they’re following you, they won’t. And neither will you.

Set Goals Other Than Word Count

Wrimos are fun. They get you into the writing zone and help you channel the content in your head onto physical or virtual paper. There’s one downside, though: they tend to drill into your head that quantity is a main priority. Truthfully, the quality of your writing is much more vital to your success than how much you can write in a day, month or year.

Set goals that draw your focus away from how many words or pages you’ve written recently. Challenge yourself to write a scene from start to finish, refine your dialogue or outline the parts of your story that still seem a little blurry. You’ll feel much more fulfilled after accomplishing something small, yet essential, than you would after writing 5,000 words you’ll only backspace later.

Take (and Appreciate) Writing Breaks

We’re talking more than just the five-minute break you take to go warm up more coffee before starting a new chapter. Many writers feel an unnecessary sense of anxiety when they go even just a day without writing. There is no rule that says you have to write absolutely every day of the week to get better at it.

In fact, taking breaks can be good for you. Sometimes your brain just needs time to file away the ideas it wants to save for later, the ones you’ve used up recently, and new ones you might want to focus on soon. You might find that taking a day or two off from your current project leaves you itching to get back to work again. That’s good. It means your time off has rekindled your excitement for what you’re working on, which will only make the writing process a little easier when you get back to it.

Worrying about writing the same thing too often, not enough words in a day or not enough at all are major contributing factors for that sense of boredom keeping you away from your work. Use these tips to help combat these feelings. You never really stop caring about your own writing. There just might be self-induced pressures standing in your way. Only you can turn that boredom back into word-filled bliss.