I’ve been neck-deep in my writing projects lately, and I kept finding that writing other things distracts me from writing what I enjoy writing the most. Whew, what a mouthful of typewritten words.
I have to admit that, although I frankly did enjoy writing it, I was happy to complete the short story Secret Signs. The truth is that although it was a story I wanted to tell and a story I genuinely cared about, right now I’m wanting to keep diving into the fictional world I created when I first wrote The Goblin Road.
What I’ve realized recently is that any other kind of writing is going to be a distraction from doing that. Even this post. I could be working on my fiction right now, and I feel it calling to me on another tab of this browser. Yet I’ll still write these posts, because they serve a function. In a way, these posts are warm-up sessions for my mind. This is me stretching.
One change that I have got to commit to is to shelve other projects for now. I’ve got a long list of stories I want to write, of books I want to write, and everything needs to be left on the list for now. Those stories may someday see the light of creation, but it won’t be today. Today, these stay ideas on a page.
I am focusing on two projects, and I won’t make any promises for when either of them will be done. I can remind myself that I am no G. R. R. Martin and my next works are not the long-awaited Winds of Winter. I don’t know how he deals with that much pressure to get his work done. It’s a wonder he can write at all.
A writer doesn’t need external pressure. We give ourselves enough as it is. It doesn’t matter whether we have an audience of 5 people or 5 million, we are prone to putting on too much pressure to get the next story finished. I don’t think that makes for quality fiction. I reject it. I reject this pressure.
I am working on kicking these expectations to the curb and returning to the practice of just enjoying the act of writing. Once upon a youthful age, I loved to write and felt zero pressure. Now I love to write and I feel the weight of judgement upon my shoulders. At least I still love to write. Nothing has taken that from me, even the discovery that I’ve vastly overused the words “look” and “seem” in my stories. (LOOK, this problem will be vanquished, sometimes with daggers that SEEM real.)
A final note for my writer compadres, my brothers and sisters in clickety-clacking and scribbley-scribbling: Write on. Just write on.