Rediscovering My Why
Hitting a wall while you're writing a book sucks. I have some thoughts on how to re-motivate. Maybe these will help you too.
We all hit walls in life, and in my experience, those walls usually mean we’ve lost sight of what we were trying to do. It reminds me of a post I saw on Music Producer Memes Facebook Page a while back.
To write a book, I have to have a platform. If I want a platform, I need the newsletter, the blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… AHHHH!
When. Am. I. Supposed. To. Write. This. Book?!
Whenever I go down one of these spirals, it makes me wonder why I ever started writing in the first place. The answer seems simple, right? Because I have stories, and I want to write them, and then I want people to read them.
A, B, C. Simple.
The tricky part becomes when developing your author platform bleeds into comparing your journey with other writers. Of course my journey as an author will look different from those in my writing circles. We all lead different lives. Some of us have kids, some don’t, some work outside the home, others are home all the time with the kids.. Wait, that one’s me.
Rediscovering my Why, reflecting on what I want out of this journey instead of what others are doing on their journey, is something I have to do often. This time around, I thought I’d share that here as a celebratory first post while I’m revitalizing my blog.
Why do I need to rediscover myself?
Well, because I’m lost. Not literally lost, just proverbially. I’m too bogged down in numbers and clicks and interactions. I’m lost within my own ambitions. Another author’s success does not in any way, shape, or form reflect what my journey towards success will look like. My journey is unique, and it’s unfolding in front of me; whether I’m paying attention or not. I need to reconnect with my path, and I need to do this with mindfulness and intention.
If I pay attention to the steps I’m taking, I’m less likely to compare. Which means I’m less likely to feel down on myself for not being “there” yet. And what even is “there?” Where is it? What does that mean? “Success” is ambiguous, indeterminate. Wherever “there” is, whatever success looks like for me, I’m getting there at my own pace.
What about this book has knocked out my confidence?
I’m pretty notorious (within my intimate circles, anyway) for getting cold feet at the end of a project. I get to the end of a book or a short story, and then comes the existential crisis. This isn’t good enough, everyone will hate this, how am I supposed to make this a career if I can’t finish books?
First, it’s important to remember that this is anxiety talking. Anxiety loves to feed you all the toxic and negativity it can dredge up from all the crevices in your brain. So I have to remind myself that:
I have finished books.
It’s okay to set this project aside and work on something else.
Everyone will not like my books. I’m not writing for everyone. I’m writing for myself.
Next, I want to be transparent with you. I want to write diverse casts. This has been a theme in my writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote a story in high school about a witch, a vampire, and a werewolf who were all best friends. The witch had a larger body than the typical media depiction of witches. The werewolf was Filipino and gay (but not out to his family.)
With diverse writing comes a lot of responsibility, though, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that it’s intimidating. No one wants to be a problematic author. (Or hell, maybe they do, I don’t know. There’s a lot of them.) More specifically, I do not want to be a problematic author. Assuring yourself that you’re giving fair representation while also understanding that you can’t possibly represent everyone, whether because of lack of experience or it not being our place, is fucking hard. The big things for me to remember here:
Sensitivity readers are around for this exact purpose.
There will be criticisms. It’s my job to learn from those.
I will make mistakes. It’s my job to own them, apologize for them, and do better next time.
What is the purpose of my writing?
This is a lot to put on someone who’s still kick-starting their career. I like to throw in jibes at capitalism and political B.S. and some hilarious witticisms to make people laugh. Creating characters with whom people can relate and maybe even learn something by being within a new perspective is always an intent I have with my writing. And the LGBTQIA+ community pops up in a ton of my stories because I’m part of that community, I love to see them in books, and I love writing them into mine.
But the purpose of my writing? Most of the time, the purpose of my writing is pure entertainment. It’s getting these ideas and worlds and quirky people out of my head and onto paper and letting other people read them and hoping to hell they fall as in love with these places and characters as I am. I mean, that’s every author's dream.
So that’s it. These are my reflections on “My Why.” These questions are the ones I felt I needed to answer during this most recent bout of existential dread. If you’ve got other questions in mind you think would help, or questions you’d just like to see me answer, send me an email! I love hearing from you!
Wishing you happiness and the hot beverage of your choice,