There are a lot of “frustrated author” memes and jokes floating around the Internet.
“Coffee! Deadlines! Rewrites! No sleep! Ahhhh!”
Ask yourself this question: Do you actually enjoy writing? Is there any part of the process that doesn’t turn you into a “Cathy” cartoon?
Yeah, it can be a little frustrating at times, but are you getting any joy out of it?
I should have busted my ass in my twenties and written a whole slew of novels, but instead I’d start, pat myself on the back about what a great writer I was, tell everyone I was writing a book, and then procrastinate until I lost interest.
I didn’t enjoy writing. I enjoyed the idea of it, and I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment I got on those rare occasions that I actually finished something I’d begun.
Nowadays, having experienced a creative rebirth of sorts in the last couple of years or so, I don’t have to force myself to write. I love it. I love creating, and I love putting words together, like pieces of a puzzle, and watching them form into a complete picture.
Writer’s block? What’s that? I have so many stories already inside of my head that there isn’t enough paper in the world to print them on. If I find myself getting stuck, it’s because I’m focusing on a story that’s distracting from the one I really want to tell. I put that story to the side and start writing another. Later, when the solution to the problem I was having with the first story presents itself, I finish the story. Then I post it and start writing another. It’s like crack. I need more and more to achieve a satisfactory high.
Crackheads, however, have to go looking for crack; they have to seek it out. Stories are everywhere. They’re in the junk drawer in your grandmother’s kitchen. They’re in a faded penny found in a parking lot. They’re in that abandoned house you drive by on the way to work every day. They’re in the sky, the trees, the faces of people you pass on the street. They’re in the sagging ceiling tiles at the dive bar you play trivia in every Tuesday night. They’re in discarded furniture on the side of the road. They’re in rusty old cars and truck stop diners. Everywhere. One simply has to develop eyes to see them.
Hammering out a ton of short stories for well over a year, some of which I haven’t even posted here, has proved invaluable to enhancing my writing abilities, and even when I feel confident enough to forge ahead with another novel, I’ll no doubt continue to churn them out, because I very much enjoy doing so. Some people play video games to unwind. I write stories. And rants like this.
When I sit down to write, I am taking control of the universe. It’s my playground, and it does whatever I want it to do. To me, that’s not a chore. That’s power.