If someone asked me, I’d tell them I haven’t written anything in three months, but that isn’t entirely true. I haven’t written as much as I would like. I haven’t worked on the projects I feel I should be working on. But I’ve written. (A little.)
To tell you the truth, I’ve been down on myself lately. Between chronic pain, exhaustion, and other life challenges, I barely write at all. I spend more time sleeping than on my laptop, and when I am on my laptop, I’m usually scrolling through Facebook instead of writing.
Months ago, I set a goal to finish the fourth book (Nightbound) in the Spellbringers series. I wanted to finish the book by the end of 2016. It didn’t happen. I’m still only about halfway through. Every time I sell a copy of Unbound (Book Three), I feel guilty because I haven’t worked on Nightbound since early December. I’ve missed several writing goals and I’ve been very disappointed in myself. Unfortunately, I just don’t feel like writing it. I’m stuck on the plot and I’m having a hard time immersing myself in the world I’ve created.
Some writers would say I should push through my writers block and write every day no matter what. Indeed, a big part of me has been berating myself for not taking that advice. With each day that passes, I feel increasingly guilty about not working on Nightbound.
A couple of weeks ago, I worked on edits on an unnamed novelette I wrote a year ago. I even submitted the story to my local critique group and received some very helpful feedback. But if you’d asked me, I would have told you I hadn’t been writing. Because it wasn’t Nightbound, so it didn’t really count.
Last week, I drafted and began writing a children’s book that I’m pretty excited about. But, that doesn’t count as writing either. Because it isn’t Nightbound, right?
Today I began a new project. I’ve written about 1000 words today. But that doesn’t count either. (Okay, so you know where I’m going with this…)
On one hand, I’m a little panicked to have so many unfinished projects hanging out in my laptop. But part of me is also happy to be writing. There’s no shame in not finishing a project. And there’s no shame in not writing.
Some people might disagree with me, but I don’t think you have to write every day to be a writer. I don’t think it’s necessary to finish or publish every story you write. It’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to scrap a project that isn’t working out. It’s okay to write just for the fun of it. And it’s okay to take breaks.
As writers, we’re often our harshest critiques. That is certainly the case for me. I’m much harder on myself than I would ever be on someone else. For now, I’m going to take it one day at a time. I’m going to work on being kinder to myself. And I’m going to try to enjoy the process of writing instead of being so focused on the end result.
Happy writing, everyone!