My last blog post seems to have struck a chord, which makes me very nervous to write this one. I feel I need to be inspirational with a healthy dollop of kick-ass here.
Instead, I have three half-complete blog drafts and this is my fourth attempt at writing something, which I have provisionally titled “Crap.” Which isn’t very inspirational, but I told myself I need to be more real here. And what’s real is that feeling fired up and full of kick-ass isn’t me all the time.
This is what’s me right now. I’m really revising my novel, again, even though after the last revision I decided I was D-O-N-fucking-E. I’m really not sure if this novel needs this revision, and I’m also not sure if this revision solves the problem I think I need to solve. This revision changes a lot of things and I’m not sure what all those changes are yet, and I’m not sure if this change doesn’t completely undercut a core motivation thus making the whole novel pointless.
I’m also really behind on this revision, and I really want to send this out in the world, as is, and get it sold so that I can declare myself done with all of this and go on to being feted and celebrated as an author. (Which really means no one cares.) But in short, I want everything I’ve been working toward for a long time to come to some sort of fruition.
The difficulty with writing, though, is that it is fruition not guaranteed. (Hey, that sounds like a title. Except now it feels like I have to be motivational.)
How do you keep going when you don’t know if what you’re doing makes any sense, is any good, or is going to succeed in any way? It sounds like the answer here should be “faith” and while that’s true in some sense, it’s also hard to come by.
I think I can just look at the evidence. I have always kept writing, long before I was any good at it or had any belief that I was good at it. Like, not every day or anything…. I still don’t write every day, even if I’ve set a bunch of audacious goals that have me writing a lot more and working a lot harder. Heck, there were points when I didn’t even write every year.
But I always came back to writing, even though I had no feedback, no success and no reason to believe I was any good.
If I think of many of my writing students, it was a similar story. They’d always written–some regularly, most in fits and starts. They’d always wanted to write. No matter what else was going on, they always came back to writing.
They kept going. So did I. Here and there, over the years.
This is not the kind of “they kept going” that people think of. People picture plugging away daily, working, sweating, and being driven by a kind of inner faith against all odds. But I think the reality of it is much smaller. Working away in fits and starts.
So yeah, how do you keep going? Let me remind you that you’re reading a writing blog. Chances are, you’re already going. Whether that’s through a daily sense of drive, or just hear and there, it doesn’t really matter. The evidence suggests that you already know how to keep going without the external validation.
You just need to do it a little more.