For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I never really considered it as a career (I like stability), but I always wanted to publish novels. I make up stories in my head when I’m bored and am constantly thinking of new story ideas.
But I rarely write.
There’s always some excuse. I don’t have enough time is the most common. Like most writers, I also use the mythic writer’s block as an excuse- I’m not feeling inspired now, I’ll write later. But later never comes. Another popular one is that I just need to learn more about the craft of writing before I’ll be able to write well, so why not just wait until then?
None of these are the real reason that I don’t write. The real reason is because it’s really fucking hard. I’m so afraid of what other people will think of my writing and how they will judge it, that I’m paralyzed into inaction.
Sometimes, like in November when I do NaNoWriMo, I’ll get into a good writing habit. Then I’ll think to myself, this is great! This is what I’ve needed all along! Now I can just keep this up and I’ll finally get more writing done.
But then November ends and I get back to the grind, making excuses to avoid writing.
So many people say that the key to being a good writer isn’t having talent, it’s perseverance. You need to be able to face the criticism, judgment, and rejection and still believe in yourself and your story. You need to experience these things and keep writing. I like to think that I’m the kind of person who does persevere. A friend once described me as someone who “relishes a challenge.” Why is it then that writing is so hard for me?
One quote I really like that applies here: “Perseverance isn’t one long race, it’s several short races one after another.”
The way I’ve been thinking about writing is that I get over the stumbling block once and keep going. But that’s not how it works. Literally every time I write, I have to face that fear and that anxiety. It doesn’t get easier and it doesn’t go away.
The first step in fighting your enemies is knowing them. I don’t feel inhibited by this knowledge, I feel armed by it.
I want so badly to publish novels. If I didn’t want it this much, I would have given up long ago.
But I refuse to give up on my dreams. I refuse to let my fears rule who I am and what I do.
I will be a writer.
I am going to start today, by committing to writing one short story every week. I just found a website (Reedsy) that sends out writing prompts every week that you can respond to, which will enter you in a contest to win $50 and be published on their website. I will either link them here so you can follow my progress and read my stories or, if they are hopefully published, link you to where you can read them on Reedsy.
Don’t give up on your dreams. Fight your fears. It’s worth it.