Motivation · Writing

On Utter Exhaustion

I have been writing for a long time (fifteen years or so, I think…?). For the majority of that time, I’ve done it almost exclusively for myself, not allowing more than a select few people to read what I wrote, and even those few haven’t read all of my books. In the semi-recent past (about two years ago) I decided that I wanted my writing to be more than something that stays locked in a laptop or in a binder on my personal bookshelf. I want to publish. I want to be a professional writer.

Since coming to that realization, I’ve worked very hard to make that dream a reality. Step one was to make my writing into something I actually did consistently, rather than whenever the whim overtook me. Step two was to start revising my work, trying to polish it and improve it. Step three was to take the risk and submit to competitions, opening myself up to critiques and criticism, but also the possibility of success. Step four was to submit to an actual publisher, someone that could turn my brainchild into a published book.

There are infinitely more steps on my writing journey, but they key point is that I started. I made the push to change something that was a hobby into something that I might, one day, turn into a full-time career.

Enter my obsessive personality and my millennial impatience. While my logical brain knows that every step I take is a good one and that turning a hobby into a profession is going to take some time, my whiny five-year-old brain wants it now. This has translated to me attempting to write and/or edit my work five or six days a week (seven if I’m lucky). The theory goes that I know I need to put in the time, so if I put in lots of time every day, I’ll get there faster.

Unfortunately, reality eventually sets in. Some days life happens and no writing gets done. Some weeks my day job goes crazy and I wind up exhausted and drained. These situations leave me tired and frustrated, wondering if I’m working myself too hard and hoping I’m not wasting my time treating my hobby like a second job.

It’s these times when the path I’ve chosen is the hardest. When everything is easy and writing is going swimmingly, the doubt doesn’t creep in, and I can successfully convince myself that everything will go according to plan. But when it’s not easy, and the writing feels like an anchor around my neck, that’s when the true faith has to bear out. Writing is what I want to do, and it’s what I intend to do. Some days it’s harder to convince myself of that than others, but it needs to become my mantra.

I am an author. I’ll prove it to the world, even myself.