I’ve seen several long time twitter accounts deactivate over the last few months, and a friend I thought I’d got back has just vanished entirely. Another person I know blocked me on twitter because no one was taking their script. They wouldn’t try/couldn’t bring themselves to write another, and when I tried to console them and explain that this process takes time, they got very angry with me for no other reason than I said it can take years.
So, if you’ve been with me a little while, if you’re getting very tired let me point out a couple of things to you.
THE PANDEMIC IS NOT OVER
We’ve been battling this for over a year, we’re getting the vaccine, but the world has changed. And this isn’t just a habit change. A habit change takes twelve weeks to adjust to in your mind, and that’s something like not putting salt on your food, or not drinking soda, or exercising.
I don’t have to tell you its trying, you know, everyone you know knows. You’re over it.
But we wont ever be quite the same as we were before. Normal is a place we may never be able to revisit. I saw someone say they just wanted to have dinner with a friend.
It might not be possible, but in some countries, you can start doing these things. You can meet just one friend nearby for coffee. Maybe you can’t travel but when was the last time you did something touristy in your hometown? It might be years, it might be boring, but right now not only could those places use the business, but it’s a nice visit down memory lane to things you haven’t done in years, if at all.
The pandemic isn’t over, but neither is the world. Being fatigued by that doesn’t make you less of a writer, just exhausted by all this, and it’s more okay than you’re probably giving yourself credit for. The fact you’re still here is amazing.
Now that’s out of the way, lets talk about writing journeys.
When you do it a long time, it gets tiring. And we’re tired already.
It’s recently enamored me of what I’ve seen called a “positivity” pass. As a writer, I’m used to assessing constant critique of my work; from dev editors, to beta readers, to readers themselves. Taking it all and learning and growing from it is fine, and no you don’t want someone to tell you an imperfect script is perfect (it will never be perfect, there are always things that can improve). But having a complete person just enjoy and point out strong points in a script are important to give you the drive to keep going.
I call them cookies when I talk about the assessment I give to manuscripts when beta reading/critiquing. I both love giving them and receiving them. It’s just a minor comment by the assessor to say; Oh wow, I love this bit!
Sometimes that’s all you need to keep going…
… because I’ve had people who’ve just stopped.
People I thought would be on this journey with me for years have thrown in the towel and meant it, and a lot of the time they never said a word. They just checked twitter every other day. We stopped DMing each other in giddy excitement over the latest story.
Because they knew, like me, that for all their excitement there is a mountain of work that would need to be done to query, submit, selfpublish, whatever their journey is, to make it good enough for a reader. And after a first, third, fourth book… you know the work beyond the joy of writing that’s in store for you so why start!
Those friends/acquaintances of mine that’ve vanished over the years have been replaced by others. Friends come and go, and so do people’s ability to endure the trials of the journey to publishing.
And that’s never to say they aren’t writers. They may come back to it, they may never return, but they are still writers.
My endurance for this industry has forced me to reassess my focus, and to that end I’m going to start writing and subbing short stories as something fun to do. And I am going to make it fun because I need to be able to weather the constant up and down hill journey of my writing career.
To make those long stretches of writing, editing, and polishing novels have upbeat moments of folly.
To enjoy not just crafting a great novel, but to fling myself at a different challenge I haven’t faced before that won’t impact me as strongly because its not a whole year’s worth of work.
Just one small story.
This might not be for you, but if you are tired of your writing journey, and a positivity pass or short stories aren’t going to cut it then what is?
How about offering to beta read a stranger’s book?
How about joining a writer’s group to find likeminded people?
How about stopping writing, and not starting again until you’ve read ten, fifty a HUNDRED books?
Whatever it takes to make you the you I knew before, the me who started this journey with no idea of how truly hard this would all become, but you wanted to do the hard work. To reinvigorate yourself for the writer that was always within you. Because, just like you, I don’t want to fade away, and I don’t want you to either.