One Day

One day, I will not be afraid. One day, I’ll be successful. One day, I will write a beautifully crafted novel in three drafts. One day, I’ll be able to justify the time I spend on this endeavour in a way that no one can question, including me. One day, it will not take so much time. One day, I will have a reason for writing that doesn’t sound pretentious or selfish or like something other people would laugh at. One day, I will not feel like a fraud. One day, I will believe I am a writer all the time. One day, I will not be surprised and puzzled when other people think of me as a writer. One day, I will sit at my desk to write and not be tempted to check Facebook first. One day, I won’t have doubts. One day, I’ll have more publication credits than my nemesis. One day, I won’t feel like I am wasting time. One day, I won’t feel like the opportunities have passed me by. One day, this won’t take so long.

One day, this will be easy.

That’s what it all comes down to, really. Why isn’t this easy? And then convincing yourself that if you make the next milestone, you get this one story published, you finish the draft, you get an agent, you win a contest–if you can do that, afterwards, it will be easy. That particular one thing is the only thing stopping you.

But eventually, you get past the one thing, and it’s still not easy. It’s still hard. Not coal mining-hard, but harder than you can admit to most people. You still have no idea what you’re doing or if any of it is working. You still have no idea if this is worthwhile in any concrete sense. You use up huge reserves on this giant act of faith that is just doing it, and then afterwards you wonder why it’s always so daunting to start.

This is your hobby, your dream, your profession, that one thing that satisfies your soul and makes you feel like your you-est self, and you keep shying away from doing it, and then kicking yourself, because it’s not easy. You chastise yourself for complaining that it’s not easy since it’s not coal mining.

But you know it’s not easy. You talk with other writers about how it’s not easy. Even for the ones that make it look easy. But somehow you think it should be different for you. That it’s supposed to be easy for you, and you get worn down because it isn’t easy.

You scorn the people who think it’s easy–they aren’t writers–and yet, you wish it wasn’t so damn hard all the time. Or worse, not all the time. Because those days when it goes well trick you into thinking that maybe on all those other days you did something wrong.

You start thinking, one day, I can quit. I will do this one thing, and I am done. Forever. I would like to do easier things. At least when I clean the floor, at the end of the day I will have a clean floor.

In your heart of hearts, you know you can quit right now. You don’t have to wait for one day. One day can be today. And maybe you do, for a little while.

And then one day you think, I had something. Maybe it could really be something. One day.


Stuck Between Ambition and Sloth

I’ve declared my novel done twice now, and been wrong both times. I’m not done. This lays a severe crimp in my plans to land a publishing deal that makes my nemesis writhe in envy.

I mean, it could still happen, but not without a lot of work first. And therein lies the problem, which is that I am fundamentally lazy and have a short attention span, and so going back to the same novel, again and again and again… well, even my motivational technique of spiting my nemesis is wearing thin.

This also puts the kibosh on my other plan, which is to write more short fiction again, which I was going to do by setting the audacious goal of writing something new every month and also revising something every month. I stuck to that goal for two months, and then failed to keep it for another four months.

This isn’t new territory. I have a long history of failed writing goals, most of which centre around some notion that I will write on a regular basis. I dream of one, concentrated binge where I produce lots of work, and then can sit back for a long time submitting from a large stock of well-written stories and then just tinker and fiddle now and again.

I get through each novel revision by convincing myself that once I make these changes, the novel will be done, will sell, will do fantastically well and I will never have to write again. I mean, I could dabble, but only now and then. But until I have an actual published book, I cannot just quit, and thus I am stuck between ambition and sloth.

Is it time to accept that my process is one of short, infrequent bursts? I don’t know. I don’t want this to be my process, since that seems very low volume.

On the other hand, self-motivation, discipline and routine have never been among my strong suits. I do everything in short, infrequent bursts.

I suppose the best I can do is to try and make them less infrequent.