I’ve been thinking. To date, I’ve been at this writing thing for three years. I can hardly believe it. I left my job five years ago to be a stay-at-home mom, and soon found myself embarking on a new journey to write for children. At least . . . that’s what I claim I’ve been doing. Two years after leaving my job I published my first illustrated children’s book and I couldn’t have been more proud of the writer I’d become. Though I do still struggle with calling myself an Author (kind of like getting used to being a parent for the first time) I can’t escape the fact that I AM a writer. I AM an author. But . . . so far . . . I’m feeling like a one-hit-wonder (well, it’s not exactly a hit, but you get the point). So it’s time to move past that madness.
On again. Off again. On again. Off again. So goes the tale of my blog. But, like I said. I’ve been thinking. I laid off blogging for a while (again) because a thought occurred to me one day.
How can I blog and advise other people on writing, when I haven’t put out anything new since my first book?
I mean, seriously? This isn’t me being too harsh on myself. This is me being real. I had to do a little soul searching. I went through all the stages of self-doubt, pity, excuses, readiness, reality-checks, blah-blah-blah. I ran through all of the typical self-doubting questions: Why am I doing this? Why am I writing with no results? Am I doing the right thing? Have I made the wrong decision? Do I belong here? You name it, I was questioning it. And then, one day while sitting and wasting time when I should have been writing, it dawned on me – I’ve been so caught up on all the hype around writing, that I hadn’t felt the desire to actually – well – write.
Blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagraming (is that how you say it?), contacts, mailing lists, marketing, the list goes on. It’s pretty intimidating. Especially considering that like many writers, I just don’t find much excitement in sharing my every waking moment with the world via social media. But I understand these are different times from my upbringing. I have to adjust. I am adjusting. But something about sharing my life while giving others advice on a process that I’m still learning, just wasn’t sitting well with me. So I stopped.
I didn’t stop writing. I stopped all of the extra stuff. Just for a little while. Well. Okay. A few months. I needed to take some time to get right for myself. I can’t bring the public a load of advice if I’m not consistently practicing it for myself. Don’t you hate when people do that? You know the type. The one that always has something to say about your life, but theirs is a hot mess. That’s kind of the space I was in. I’m not a hot mess, but I have work to do. And despite my many flaws, I do have some helpful advice to offer those of you out there who are trying to navigate this writing thing and feel like you’re struggling more than most. It’s simple really.
Basically, no one can tell you how to be a writer. No one can teach you how to be a better writer. And no one can make you sit down and write. Only you can do that. Of course you can get hints, tips, take courses, attend seminars, participate in webinars, all of that. All of these things are helpful guidance. But they are just that – guidance. The bottomline is, the only way for you to become a better writer, a published writer, a good writer is to simply write. Plain and simple. Block out all of the distractions; make yourself do it; talk to yourself. Get off of social media. Turn off the t.v., silence your self phone – and tablet – and computer – and watch – and any other device you have that gives you notifications about things that won’t help you get words on the page. Shut – them – down – and – WRITE!
Now, this is something I know about. I know about distractions and how they get in the way of progress. Do take my advice on this and save yourself the headache and heartache of having to reflect on how much time you’ve wasted being distracted or just not forcing yourself to do the thing that you know you love to do. You belong here. You love to write. Unfortunately, for some of us, it’s just as easy not to write as it is to actually write.
Take a deep breath. You got this. While you’re busy coaxing yourself and pumping yourself up to get to work – I’ll be focusing on myself and getting write – I mean right – with my writing.
Stay focused and write on!