Since I have ventured into the world of writers, I have come across a number of terms I had never heard before: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), MC (Main Character), WIP (Work In Progress). With everyone casually throwing these terms around on social media, Google has been a total pal, though I still feel somewhat lost. It’s not from a lack of understanding (okay part of it is, but I’m learning); I just don’t quite fit in.
Writers ask each other interesting questions like “what stage are you at in your WIP?” and “how would your MC react if they were just told they inherited a million dollars?” and so on and so forth. I have no answers to these questions because I have no WIP and I have no MC. So far I have only written shorter content and have yet to be struck by The Big One: the idea for a story that’s worth turning into a book.
I desperately want the lightbulb moment, but actively trying to throw myself in front of that train doesn’t seem to accomplish much. Sometimes I will sit and think of a random string of things, as many things as I can—ketchup, parrot, riding a motorcycle, ukelele, Sierra Mist, aloe plant, lighting a match, UFO—in hopes that my mind will wander into the right groove. It has led to some vague ideas of potential circumstances or character attributes that might make interesting aspects of a story, but so far nothing of substance or that I’ve been able to expand upon.
I feel self-conscious “dropping my link” anywhere because I don’t have much content at my link yet. For me, writing is a slow process somewhat resembling cooking a crockpot dish. If I get all the ingredients right and it simmers for long enough, I’ll pop out a delicious ready-to-eat meal. But without the proper ingredients, there’s no sense even turning the crockpot on. I’m not one to serve hot garbage (metaphorically, anyway—in real life my cooking is a total dice roll).
I’ve noticed that writers tend to set word count goals for themselves. I see things like “so far I’ve written 5k words today, only 5k to go until I hit my goal!” and it makes me want to crawl in a hole for an eternal nap. I would love to experience that kind of excitement and motivation, but instead, I just feel inadequate.
I can’t usually bring myself to write unless I have something worthwhile to write about. I feel like I’m in a constant state of writer’s block, occasionally broken up with brief moments of inspiration. Once that inspiration hits, I am fired up and I can’t wait to get going; then when I finish that piece, it’s right back to the block.
This goes against all the Best Practices I’ve heard, that to be a writer you have to WRITE, you should be writing things even if they’re terrible, fail and fail and fail again, get that trash on the page because it will make you better! I fully believe all of this is true, but I also can’t fathom turning writing into a chore. Call me Calvin, but I don’t want to sit and write things that I don’t even like just to build my own character. I want to write because I love it and I’m passionate about what I’m writing.
Does my natural aversion to ~writing stuff for the sake of writing~ mean I’m not cut out for the coveted title of Writer? I find myself wondering often.
I know I shouldn’t compare myself, but it’s hard not to when I’m entrenched in a world full of others doing the same thing I am, seemingly with their lives in a state of highly together. So I’m allowing myself to admit my flawed humanity here because at the very least… it gives me something to write about.
TL;DR I’m not perfect. I have a way of going about the writing process that strikes me as different, perhaps less productive than normal, and that worries me. I’m afraid I will never think of a great idea and I’ll never be able to consider myself successful. I have a bad habit of getting discouraged when I see how good other people are at all of this stuff, and I compare myself to them endlessly despite how thoroughly useless an activity that is.
Will all of my own negativity stop me from pressing on? Nah, of course not. When I do get the calling to write, it’s like breathing for me. I could never give that up. And at this current moment, I can at least say that I’m base level established and I write whenever the mood does strike, which is more than I could say 3 months ago. Progress is progress, no matter how small, right?
Now that I’ve gotten that out, I guess it’s back to the writer’s block. Anyone else?