To my writing friends:
I haven’t wanted to write in over a year. Sure, sometimes I’d force out a paragraph here and there. I kept up with a bi-weekly article series I do. But to actually write? To follow up on my debut novel that released a year ago? I didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I couldn’t get past the “what about after?” stage. The marketing and the begging. The constant concern that I’m not good enough. That I’m not strong enough. All the things that come after the actual writing is over. My friends tried to help me. They finished reading my debut and left Amazon reviews. They shared it with their friends. But as strong as they were, my anxiety was stronger. More than 60 positive reviews and I still doubted all of it. My own worth. My own abilities. I hated myself for even trying.
I know that there’s a strong correlation between those who write and those who live with depression and/or anxiety. I know I’m not alone in the crippling fear and the self-doubt that plagues you as you just want to create something worthwhile. Something real. I know how hard the process is and how every hill seems like a mountain. I know. And I can’t help you surmount all of that. Just be aware: sometimes it gets better.
I wrote 17,000 words this weekend. I can’t tell you exactly what broke the dam, but a huge part of it was the conscious realization that I never HAVE to publish another book if I don’t want to. I never HAVE to beg and plead and count reviews again if that’s too toxic for me. I never HAVE to do anything. But I want to write. So this weekend I did. And the minute I stopped worrying about what anyone else would think of it, when I gave up on all the things that would come after– I found myself finally able to do so.
I know that this isn’t the solution for a lot of you. I’m aware that the end-goal for so many people is to make something that people will read. But that’s just the thing– no one will ever read what you don’t write. Maybe someday this will be worthy of putting forth again. Maybe I’ll be willing to face all the mountains for a chance of someone seeing it. Maybe I’ll get the fan mail that my debut novel brought me. But none of that was ever going to happen if I didn’t put down the words first. And I couldn’t put down the words if I was afraid of what would come after. So… none of that matters. Time to go back to my roots. Write for me first and don’t worry whether or not others may decide to follow.
Whatever demons are keeping you from putting that quill to paper– I wish you the best at fighting them. Because I think you probably have a story to tell. You probably have a tale that’s going to save someone.
And it’s okay if that someone is just you this time.
Like this post? I wrote a more in-depth article about writing here.