I’m fond of looking for advice in strange places. Heck, I tell people one of my favorite quotes is from “Pokemon: the First Movie”. So I was hardly surprised when I found this little gem this weekend while cruising video game videos on YouTube:
And as I listened to Sky, I realized: he’s absolutely right. If you really want something, you don’t make excuses – you pursue it. You chase it. You prioritize it.
This coming December is the sixth anniversary of when I started writing. In that time, I’ve posted nearly 1300 unique poems, published 5 books with enough content to fill 2 more, and earned enough money from my writing that I’ve had to pay taxes on it. I feel comfortable enough with my achievements to call myself a writer, and even an author.
But am I really serious about it? Is it really what I want to do with my life?
I don’t writer every day, but there was still a time when I had poems prepared months in advance. However, these days I’m lucky if I have Tuesday’s post done by Sunday night. And I wonder to myself, “What happened to me?”
I feel like if I really wanted to be a writer, I should be spending every waking moment on my craft. But I don’t. Instead, I’ve spend the past year pursing several fruitless romances, thrown myself into supporting others and their pursuits, and come home from work only to bury my nose in games or books or television shows. I keep my queue filled, but most nights my writing is untouched.
I’ve been critical of other writers I’ve known in the past for not writing. I used to meet with a group once a month, and some of those writers would set writing goals only to meet the following month and say that they’d written nothing. And I would ask the question, “How can you call yourself a writer when you don’t write?”
Harsh words, I admit, but there’s a measure of logic behind them.
And when I levy those words against myself, I can’t help but feel like I fall short too. Last December I spoke about my ambitions to use this year to write longer content for 2015, and while I’ve kept to that…I’ve only written one thing that hasn’t posted to this blog. I have to-do lists of story ideas that I’ve never started or left unfinished. And because of this, despite all of my successes, I feel like a failure.
So how do I live up to my dreams? How do I rise to meet the potential I see within myself?
- There are no shortcuts.If I want to be a writer, I must write. If I want to be an author, I must publish and get published. The only way to get there is to dedicate time and myself to the task – everything else will fall short.
- It’s OK to focus on yourself, and say “No” to others.I like helping people, but throwing myself behind others’ causes and ambitions has come at the cost of my own. So once I finish up with my current set of promises and social obligations, I am going to think long and hard before picking up any new ones.
- But all things in moderation
While it’s important to make writing a priority, it’s more important to remember to do so in moderation. Take breaks. Visit friends. Go out to dinner, or to the movies. Live a life. Making writing – or anything – the one and only thing you do in your life is not healthy. Remember to keep things balanced – it will make you happier in the long run.
I spent 2013 and 2014 focused on shorter writing styles – haiku especially. This year I focused on longer styles, and wrote blog posts or short stories for every week. That’s good, and a good way to stretch myself and see what works and what doesn’t.
- Acknowledge when things don’t work
And I HATED writing blogs this year. Precious few were on topics I was passionate about, and fewer still flowed as smoothly as my poetry. All of them too substantially longer to write than a poem, and that cut into time I could have been working on other projects. I’ve been thinking of abandoning blogs for MONTHS, but I’m going to keep at them until the end of the year. But after that…I doubt I’ll focus on blog posts again.
- Don’t give up
You’ll always hit setbacks and snags, but don’t stop because of them. Don’t let the fear of making mistakes keeping you from trying. Have faith. Believe.
And that’s the sentiment I want to end this on: believe. Don’t give up, keep trying, and believe. We are greater and grander than we give ourselves credit for – and it’s time to show the world what it’s been missing out on.
So fight on, oh Dreamers, and believe.