Writers: Make Sacrifices, But Make Them Temporary

Just because you give something up now doesn’t mean you have to give it up forever.

As I’ve navigated my way through the earliest stages of adulthood, I’ve been told time and again that juggling responsibilities often requires tossing things aside to make your juggling more sustainable. Surviving in the real world, in other words, means you have to make sacrifices. You have to give up things you enjoy so that you and the people around you can remain happy.

I don’t disagree with this — how could I? I could list off more than a handful of hobbies and interests I would love to invest my time and energy in, knowing there’s no logical way I could pull it off. Time spent pursuing those small sparks of fascination would take time away from things that are presently more important — like writing, for example. The more time I spend off my computer, the less time I spend writing.

What I don’t agree with, however, are the implications that the sacrifices we make as “real adults” have to be permanent. You can’t afford to choose your dream job over one that offers a 401K and health insurance — this is the reality for many people, especially those my age or close to it — so that automatically means your chances of ever landing your dream job are gone forever? Because you are currently writing a book and don’t have extra time to hang out with your friends every Friday night, you will lose those friends and can never hang out with them again even when the book is finished?

Consider the classic misconception that women can’t lead successful careers and also raise families. Many of them realistically have to put their educations or careers on hold because they also want to have kids. I know of plenty of successful women who temporarily said “later” to finishing their degrees or going for their dream jobs because it was the right time to start having kids. But they went back. They did both. “Later” really can mean “later.” It doesn’t have to mean “never.”

Why does it for so many people, though? How does “someday” become fantasy? Why does that dream someone promises themselves they’ll come back to end up fading into the realm of imagination and staying there forever?

This is a blog about being a writer, of course, so I’m mostly referring to those people in your life who keep saying “I want to write a book but …” and that “but” ends up being the thing that keeps them from ever actually doing it. Are these people lazy? Are they just saying they want to write a book because it sounds cool? Probably not. It’s very likely they are capable of writing a book and genuinely want to do it. But other things keep getting in the way. Their excuses cloud their desire and they just stop trying.

Do you have to give up things — e.g., your dream of writing and publishing a book — in order to focus on things that are currently more important? Absolutely. That’s life; there’s really no way around it. But if you don’t want your dreams to die, you have to sit down, grit your teeth, and do a little planning.

Planning?! Yes, I know. Some of you out there are self-proclaimed pantsers in more than the strictly creative areas of your life. You feed off spontaneity. You don’t want to think too far ahead because things always end up changing anyway, so what’s the point?

But if you’re going to step away from your dream, you need some kind of plan to make sure you do eventually come back to it.

It doesn’t have to be complicated — you don’t necessarily need an exact starting deadline, though that might help. It could be after you graduate. After your tiny human is old enough to spend even just a few hours each morning in daycare. After your wedding. As soon as your dog reaches that supposed age when they’re not going to try to tear apart the couch every time you turn around.

These are all “someday” deadlines, and can still be extremely dangerous if you don’t somehow hold yourself to them. It’s probably happened to you: Graduation comes and goes and you continue to put off working on your book. You spend your daycare time running errands instead of writing because it’s the only time of day you can get it done. You want to focus on, you know, your marriage after the wedding. It’s all a lie and your dog will always try to eat the couch unsupervised no matter how old they get (sigh).

I don’t know you or what motivates you to sit down and get things done. I can’t give you personalized advice through a blog post. But what I can tell you is that you have to find something that’s going to at least somewhat guarantee you’re going to come back to something after temporarily setting it aside.

For me, a “bucket list” serves as reliable accountability. I review my list at least every 36 hours most weeks because it reminds me that getting a book published is something I still want to do, even if it isn’t always my priority. It doesn’t let me forget about it. And on the days I’m least motivated to return to a work in progress, I do it anyway because of my list.

So find what works for you. A spreadsheet with dates and ways to track your progress. An accountability buddy who will keep you on track as long as you commit to doing the same for them. There are even apps that “punish” you for not sticking to your commitments by having you add funds to an account and only promising to return them if you follow through or killing off your custom avatar.

Most importantly, though, you have to decide for yourself that giving up forever is not an option. Sticking to it is still essential, but you won’t do it if you’re not committed in your heart to it. If it’s something you truly want to accomplish in your lifetime, find a way. Decide you will make it happen even if it has to wait a few months or a few years. Make a plan. Figure out a way. And then, when you say you’re going to do it, do it.

There’s no avoiding sacrifice. But you CAN avoid faded dreams, if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make them come true. Eventually.

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.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

Can Writers Truly Find Balance?

Is it possible to achieve true balance in your life?

What does a “balanced” life look like?

I think we all — at least those of us in Western societies — have the same general picture of what life balance means. When I picture a perfectly balanced life, I picture someone who gets seven hours of sleep, cooks all their meals, works out, has a healthy relationship with their partner and/or friends, takes good care of their kids (or guiltlessly has none), excels at their day job, keeps up with the reading for their book club, volunteers, and spends a little time each day on their hobby. Maybe they play an instrument or build birdhouses or write books in their spare time.

Basically, I envision someone who does it all and doesn’t struggle (much). They make time for everything, they don’t complain, and when they feel overwhelmed, they always have some kind of support system to swoop in and relieve them of some of the pressure.

This is what we all want. But very few of us — if any — have figured out how to achieve it.

Maybe that’s because we’re doing it wrong,

I must confess, even I have yet to “master” this phenomenon they call work-life balance. There are days I feel as if I have it figured out, and plenty more weeks and months when I feel I’m failing miserably trying to juggle everything — my day job, this blog, my personal writing projects, freelancing, staying healthy, and of course, catering to the many endless needs of my dog.

When I talk about balance, I never intend to do it from the perspective of someone who has it figured out, because I don’t. I’m still learning right along with you. Actually, my theory is that no one has ever figured out how to achieve true balance in their lives, and anyone who claims they have is just saying words.

The truth is, “balance” looks like something different for everyone. Everyone is only capable of so much at once — never everything simultaneously. And while there are stretches of time everything will seem like it’s turning into the picture I described at the beginning of this post, that will almost never last, no matter how much you might want it to.

The reason there are days you feel on top of it all and days you don’t is because our lives are always shifting, our routines are always adjusting and our days are much more unpredictable than we’d like to think they are. Things are almost never going to go the way we plan. But as much as we can, we still need to have plans in place and stick to them whenever possible.

For writers, this does mean scheduling out your writing time. If you want to take your writing more seriously, it’s a good time to let go of the notion that writing should only happen when you’re feeling motivated and/or inspired to write. That paints a nice picture of the ideal writing life, but it’s far from realistic.

Writing must happen. You can’t wait until all your outside stressors are gone. You can’t wait until your mind is free of clutter and everything else is checked off your to-do list. You must sit down and do it as often and as consistently as you can, because if you don’t, it won’t happen. You’ll spend all your time worrying and feeling guilty about not writing when you could prevent this by — yes! — writing!

I know it’s hard. I, too, work full-time, have stuff to clean and people to please and energy that gets spent. I still get my writing done anyway. It doesn’t always happen — I’m human, there are things you can’t ignore in favor of sitting down to continue a good story.

But every day I plan on writing, I figure out when it is going to happen, where it is going to happen, and how much needs to get done. It doesn’t matter if I am tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed. At five or six or whatever time I have specified beforehand, nine times out of 10, I sit down and I do the writing.

Why does this work? Because I can plan ahead what needs to happen before and after my writing time. I need to make sure the dog is walked and fed. The dishes need to be in the dishwasher, most if not all of the small things on my to-do list need to be checked off. And because I’ve automatically created a deadline for myself, most of the time, these things are done before five or six because — in my mind — they have to be.

That is how I make my various attempts to balance everything. I make plans. I keep schedules, I write lists. If this isn’t your natural way of doing things, maybe that needs to change. I’m not saying writing can’t be fun or you’re not allowed to do it freely when it suits you, but if there isn’t some form of stability in your life, you’re going to spend all your years saying “I’ll do it tomorrow.” But you never will.

There is no such thing as a “perfect” life. Even a writer who sits at home and writes all day has a hard time managing everything. We are expected to be able to put on a smile and do all the things, but why? Because all of our family and friends have figured it out? Hardly. Everyone is struggling in their own way. There’s no point in trying to make it look like you can write books and bake cakes and run marathons and attend every single one of your kids’ soccer games and concerts without having the occasional bad day.

WE ALL STRUGGLE. We all want to find balance even though we’re not quite sure what that means. To me, it means doing the best you can, and spreading your responsibilities and commitments out by day. Maybe there’s only one night a week that’s ideal for writing. Well hey — that one night is better than none. To you, that is balance. You’re making time for one night of writing. Go you!

Stop trying to do it all, all the time. You can’t. Make writing a priority, make sure it happens, but don’t let yourself worry that other things are going to fall apart because of it. There are times you’re going to do a good job and times you aren’t. Guess what? That makes you human. Welcome to reality. You got this. We all do.

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.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

You’re About to Tell a Story No One Else Has Ever Told

How COOL is that?

All writers are storytellers. We gather ideas from the people, places, and things we interact with and we turn them into stories. For most, binding to an idea is not the hard part. The hard part is actually sitting down and putting that idea into words.

I know this is a common struggle because I have — and still do on occasion — share the same hardship with all of you. That’s why this blog exists. To help you conquer this and many other struggles and get your stories told.

There are many factors that make storytelling more difficult than it presumably should be. Time, for example — there never seems to be enough of it. Many people also struggle to find the motivation or drive to get their work done. They WANT to. They just can’t bring themselves to bring that want to the table.

One common creative barrier or writing roadblock I’ve experienced — and have seen many others experience over the years — is fear. Fear that your story isn’t good enough. Fear that people will criticize it too heavily and you’ll feel disappointed as a result.

There’s also the fear that a story has been overdone or that it won’t be able to stand out amongst others like it. This stops many writers from ever even coming close to achieving their dreams — often stops them from attempting to Make Words Happen at all.

Many writers worry that their ideas aren’t unique enough or that someone has already told the story they want to tell. This worry is understandable and I would be lying if I said I’d never shoved an idea aside because I thought it was too similar to something that had already been done.

But what most people either don’t realize or forget is that two people telling a similar story will almost never end up telling the same exact story. This is because every story a person tells is in part based on their personal experience or their particular viewpoint about a subject. No two people, not even two people who grew up in the same place experiencing the same events, go through life having learned the same lessons. Different versions of different stories, therefore, emerge from different people.

Stories also evolve as you write them. You might start writing a story with one idea or direction in mind and end it having gone with a completely different plan. All stories, if you strip them down to their most basic elements, are similar to one another in general concept. But each one that’s been told is unique in its own way, partially because a different person authored it from start to finish.

Your worry that the story in your head won’t “make it” out there against all the other stories of its kind is a completely rational fear. Just like ourselves, we want all of our stories to possess that one unique quality or element that sets them apart from the crowd and increases their chances of success.

But here’s the thing: You will never have to worry about your story being crushed by all the bigger, meaner stories that came before it if you never actually get around to telling your story.

In other words: If you never write it, you’ll never have to worry about it. But you’ll also never have any chance of seing your story take off, because there won’t be one.

If you’re struggling to transform your idea from a concept to a finished product, keep in mind that you are, technically, about to do something no one has ever done before. The story you are about to tell is unique because your thoughts and experiences are unique. Let that motivate you, and offer you reassurance, and encourage you to keep going even when it gets hard, even when you feel stuck, even when you begin to doubt you can do this — because you will doubt yourself, and get stuck, and struggle. There is no avoiding that.

The only thing to do is to continue telling your story. Don’t focus on whether it’s “good” or not. Don’t worry about how unique or attention-grabbing or “marketable” it is. Just write the story that’s on your heart.

I know many experts will disagree with this stance. But their primary focus is, if that’s the case, different than mine. I believe that every writer needs to start out worrying only about getting the words onto paper, and that’s what I’ve set out to do in giving advice on this blog and elsewhere. Once you’ve written a story, THEN you can worry about perfecting it. But not yet. Not until you’ve actually written something from start to finish.

So start with that. Start with a story. It may turn out that you didn’t end up writing the exact story you wanted and you’d rather keep your finished product to yourself and begin writing something for someone else to read instead. There’s nothing wrong with that. At least you tried. At least you wrote something. Because of that you can call yourself a writer. The only prerequisite to calling yourself a writer is that you write.

Tell your story. For now, that’s your only task. Sit down and write it down. The more time you spend working on it, the more you’ll realize its value — and yours.

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.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

12 Reminders You Might Need If The Blank Page Feels Like Too Much to Handle

You got this!

1. Writing does get a little easier once you start. A little.

2. “Just start writing” isn’t as difficult as you might think. Just … start!

3. Start writing about the first thing that comes to mind, because that’s how ideas are born.

4. If you come back to what you wrote later and you don’t like it, you can always start again.

5. But you’ll never know if an idea is going to work until you try it.

6. It’s just a [digital] piece of paper! It’s not going to hurt you!

7. Everyone starts with a blank page. You’re not alone.

8. What you write doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be there.

9. Focus on the story — the quality (and quantity) are less important right now.

10. You don’t have to write a whole book in one day! Just a very small part of one.

11. No amount of writing time is wasted time. Try it and see what happens. Try SOMETHING.

12. YOU CAN DO IT! You! Can! Do! It! Write one word. Right now. Then two. Do it!

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.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

Why You Can’t Just Write When You’re ‘Feeling Good’

Write through it. Don’t wait.

As I’m writing this, I’m just coming off a full day of work, plus an extra meeting/interview — something that notoriously leaves me drained yet fulfilled. Almost every part of my brain is screaming at me, “Take the night off! Don’t write! Wait until you’re feeling better!”

Your thoughts aren’t always lying to you — you can trust them a good percentage of the time. But they do have a tendency to trick you into believing you’re not quite as strong-willed as you actually are. It’s very likely that you’re capable of accomplishing the work you’ve set out to do even when something inside your head is begging you not to exert the effort.

Sure, you might really, really want to watch Captain Marvel because it was just released on digital and you’ve already downloaded it and all you have to do is press play and you’ll be good to go, but you want to do that because you want to escape from your feelings of exhaustion and disappointment.

You know you have to write — in the sense that if you don’t, you’ll regret not having written when you wake up tomorrow, and that’s never a pleasant way to start your day.

Plus, if we tossed away our work every time we didn’t feel like doing it, we wouldn’t have jobs or the money to buy movies, so there’s that.

Why can’t you reserve your writing time only for when you “feel” like writing? Because that practice and mindset will set you up for failure before you even start trying.

The truth is, Life Happens. It’s unpredictable, inconvenient, and always attempts to default to chaos. We are an emotionally driven species and we react emotionally to the things that happen to us on a day to day basis. When something doesn’t go our way, we feel deflated and disappointed. When we hear good news, we feel alert and elated.

And the most “fun” part about this is that sharp shifts in our moods very rarely occur when it’s convenient. For example, you’re sitting down to write a blog post and that’s when your body decides to remind you how tired you are and as a result you feel frustrated about your depleted energy levels. All this combined makes you not want to write despite the fact that you cleared time in your schedule for writing.

But again … Life Happens. Most people who are dealing with things in their lives regardless of their severity still get up and go to work every day because they cannot afford to take unplanned days off. If you’re serious about making writing a career, shouldn’t you treat your writing time the exact same way — even if you technically have the luxury of skipping out on your work when it’s not convenient or favorable for you to do it?

For the record, I do get what it’s like to sit down after long hours at your day job, think about all the responsibilities you have outside of writing, and try to fathom actually opening your laptop to write. About 20 minutes ago, I felt that pain. I looked up from my screen and saw puppy dog eyes pleading with me — how could I not get up and play? There were books to read, emails to send, people to text back, dishes to rinse. There still are.

The absolute last thing I wanted to do was sit here and write a blog post.

Why am I doing it anyway? Because the world doesn’t stop spinning just because you’re tired or upset or things aren’t going your way. Do you have the right to evenings of self-care, weekends off, “you” time? Of course you do. You’re a human and humans are not supposed to work all day every day. I don’t care if you’re religious or not, a “day of rest” every week is not the worst concept to consider applying to your life.

But the reason so many aspiring writers never accomplish any of their creative ambitions is because they wait. They wait for the good days. They wait for all their problems to go away. They wait for the storms to pass. (I kid you not, I almost didn’t finish writing this because a major thunderstorm blew through. What does a storm have to do with my ability to write?)

They spend all their time waiting, and they end up waiting for a very long time. Because at every turn, there will be a bad day, a problem, a storm. You can’t write only when things are perfect. You have to learn to write through the good times as well as the bad.

Successful writers write. They don’t wait. They don’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow” when they’re tired — at least, not usually. They know when they can afford to take time off and when they can’t. They do whatever they need to do to push through the “I don’t want to” and get it done anyway.

Be one of those people. Do it anyway, even when you don’t feel like it.

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.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

What Makes a ‘Good’ Writer?

What makes a person a truly ‘good’ writer?

Do you know what makes a writer ‘good’? When you pick up a book or article or another piece of work from someone, how do you know if they’re skilled in their craft? It’s possible to tell if someone has written something skillfully, but does that make them truly ‘good’?

It turns out being a ‘good’ writer is about a lot more than just knowing how to fit sentences together in a way that sounds pleasant. Good writing is essential for success in this field — of course it is. But there’s so much more to it.

These are all the things ‘outsiders’ — non-writers — don’t see. And they’re the reasons we’re writing, and they aren’t. Yet.

Continue reading “What Makes a ‘Good’ Writer?”

Turn Your ‘What Ifs” Into Stories

Don’t let your “what ifs” go to waste.

Our lives almost never go the way we plan. Things very rarely turn out exactly the way we imagined they would. In the end, everything usually turns out fine and we’re happy with the eventual turnout. But unmet expectations breed disappointment.

We really wanted that house. That promotion. That second chance.

It’s completely normal to bond with our “what ifs.” But only for a short time, I’m told.

They say you’re not supposed to spend the rest of your life imagining what “might have happened.” It can start to mess with your head, if you’re not careful. When you allow yourself only to exist in an alternate reality that will never come to be, you sort of forget how to exist in this reality. And that’s not good.

However, there may be a way to imagine how your life may have turned out differently and how that different timeline may have impacted you. And that’s through storytelling.

I once wrote an entire book telling the story of what “might have happened” if a certain part of my life had gone a different way. Looking back on it now, I realize I really needed to write that story. It helped me cope with my new reality. It eventually helped me come to terms with the fact that my life had already changed the way I hadn’t wanted it to and there was nothing I could do to undo that truth.

Was I deeply affected by what had and hadn’t happened? Of course I was. I’m only human. Of course I allowed myself time to grieve in the only way I knew how — by creating a virtual Minecraft paradise complete with a tree house village and proceeding to burn down the entire thing “accidentally.” (Hey, as long as it’s not hurting anyone, you cope the way you need to cope.)

But it could have gone on and on for weeks, even months or years. I could have continued to feel plagued by darkness and trapped in an endless loop of wanting to remember and begging my brain to forget. But I didn’t. Because I sat down shortly after burning down that virtual forest and I started writing a book.

Both of these mechanisms for processing the emotions associated with grief — fire that can’t actually hurt anyone and a fictional story — would be considered healthy ways to deal, I suppose. But the book ended up serving as the long-term solution to my problem.

I couldn’t stop asking myself “what if.” I couldn’t stop wondering about it, couldn’t get the various possibilities out of my mind. So I picked one and wrote a story about it. I no longer had to imagine what might have happened, because I’d already done that. I’d created an alternate reality right there on those pages. It wasn’t true, it would never happen for real. But in my mind, it had happened somewhere to someone else. And that’s how I got through it.

Instead of letting our “what ifs” poison us and drag us down, maybe we’d be much better off using them for good. Some of the greatest stories ever written start out as ideas born of tragedy. Not all of them — not everyone’s stories are as dark as mine and yes, I do often envy them for this.

People who transform their pain into art are much more likely to be able to move beyond the darkest points in their lives and emerge from the lowest valleys stronger and brighter than they were before.

Various events in our lives change us, and leave us wondering what “might have happened.” We can use that to our advantage. If you possess the untamable urge to tell stories, then this will almost be an instinctive response to the things that happen to you in the real world.

That’s not a bad thing. Just because you tell fictional stories does not mean you’re incapable of tuning in to reality. In fact, having the luxury of being able to escape to a different reality, even temporarily, may benefit you in the long-term more than anyone else might realize.

It’s like a superpower, almost. Being able to see things that never happened. Then being able to return to the present and accepting those things as the fictional stories they are.

Don’t let your “what ifs” go to waste. It may not be healthy to dwell too heavily on them. But you CAN make cool things out of them. Use your imagination for good, as it is meant to be used. Take the experiences in your own life and turn them into stories other people can enjoy. You’ll benefit first and foremost, and hopefully so will they.

Don’t just ask yourself “what if.” Let yourself write about it. Give that story an ending, call it done, and put it away. Take a deep breath. Move on. You’ll be glad you did.

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.

Help Novelty Revisions become a more valuable resource for aspiring writers.  Join us on Patreon.

The One ‘Creative Barrier’ You Can’t Erase

Not every problem can be “solved” and that’s OK.

Writers encounter many “creative barriers” throughout their lives. These are usually mental roadblocks that do their best to stop you from writing no matter how much you might want to. The inability to focus on a particular task, or being afraid you’ll write something that other people will criticize or laugh at.

Most creative barriers, writers can learn to overcome. But not all of them. Not always.

There’s always one that keeps and tightens its hold on you even when you try to get rid of it, it seems. Continue reading “The One ‘Creative Barrier’ You Can’t Erase”

Why Do We Talk About Writing More Than We Actually Write?

Sometimes we say we’re going to do things but never do them. Why do we do that?

I’ve been talking about my current work in progress, a novel, since I began writing it in November 2018. But the truth is, I’ve technically only been working on it for about three or four months. I looked today, and apparently I haven’t touched it since March. It’s almost June. That’s not good.

I’m just like many other aspiring writers wandering around trying to make sense of their craft. I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how “cool” my book is and how I “can’t wait” to work on it. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about or proud of your work — absolutely not.

The problem arises when you spend all your time talking about what you’re working on, possibly giving the impression you’re actively working on it, when in reality you’ve barely even started. Or haven’t started at all. Or you did start, but it’s been a while since you opened it up.

Why do we do this? I don’t believe most of us do it on purpose — try to convince other people they’re “real” working writers even when they aren’t. More than not being fully truthful with other people, it’s probably more a matter of lying to ourselves, even if we don’t fully realize or accept we’re doing that, either. Continue reading “Why Do We Talk About Writing More Than We Actually Write?”

Why I’m Not Ashamed of My Terrible Writing

Let’s be honest: All writers start out writing not-great things.

I’ve recently been considering bringing back my podcast. Yes, bringing back — as in I had a podcast once, but after seven or eight episodes it became one of many abandoned projects I would set off to the side when I got “too busy” to squeeze it in.

As I began contemplating the possibility of a Brain Rush revival, I went back and listened to the episodes I’d recorded back in 2016 … and I could barely get through them.

They were — and I’m not embarrassed to admit it — awful. Awful, I suppose, in the way that most beginners’ podcasts are at the start. They didn’t sound good. They weren’t all that interesting. But most of all, they didn’t fit. The writing wasn’t meant for a podcast. I didn’t know what writing for a podcast was supposed to sound like. It wasn’t “bad.” It just wasn’t “right.”

Would I have gotten better at it if I’d kept going? Debatable. But the truth is, I stopped. I sensed what I was doing wasn’t working, even then, and made the right decision: Put this to bed for now and focus on projects that need your attention more right now. And that’s probably why I’ve accomplished so much since then, despite never becoming a podcast genius. I don’t feel I’m missing out.

That doesn’t mean I can’t go back, though. If I want to subject myself to that again. Continue reading “Why I’m Not Ashamed of My Terrible Writing”