The road to Success

So this isn’t going to be the post where I lay out my five-year plan with goals and schedules and tactics to achieve those goals. I am no prophet. This is going to be a rambley thinking-on-the-page post about shifts in mental status around writing.

*watches 99% of blog followers drift away*

Ah, my loyal spambots! Thank you for staying. 😀

So I started thinking about this post about two weeks ago, when I was going to bed dissatisfied with the productivity of the day. After I had pointed out to myself that I’d read 200 pages of a MG novel and worked for seven hours, myself realized that my subconscious has for some time now been ignoring activities that don’t involve writing in some way. The hours that fill my bank account? PSH. They are nothing. The two hours spend scanning for “ly” in a short story– now there is where my satisfaction lies.

Part of me was absolutely delighted to figure this out. I finally knew, with proof from my  emotions and everything, (exactly one year after I decided to try a workshop to see if I wanted to try this writing thing seriously), that storytelling was where my focus and love was. So yes, I went in and changed my facebook employment information to add “writer” as a part-time job.

Another part of me was closer to despair than to glee, because I knew that writing was what I want to do as my final career, and yet I have three years of 50-60 hour weeks ahead of me in school and work-for-money-for-school. My current method of devoting time to writing involves chunks of four or more hours at a time– which has not been a useable tactic as I keep having chucks of two or less hours, during which I am a starey-creature-who-stares-at-walls for at least half of that time.

You see, I am wimpy and thus I tire easily, and I don’t do well if I don’t spent time talking to/stalking the twitter/tumblr feed of at least one of my friends on the internet, and I don’t do well if I don’t get enough sleep, and so on, and so on. I know what I want to do, I just– can’t do it yet.


It is extremely tempting to just scream at myself for being so weak. I should push myself through writing anyways, damn the consequences. Edit anyways, no matter if I hate it and I can’t think straight and only one of my eyes will focus and all I want to do is cry. I need to get this done. I have done this before.

That is to say, I’ve gone the self-hatred route. It’s really good for producing self-hatred, not great for producing anything else. And I mean anything. Socialization drops, faith drops, work that I am being paid to do drops…

So I need to find another way forward. I need to (1.) teach myself to work in small snatches and (2.) to not fall into the habit of hating myself for my weakness whenever I can’t. (Legitimately, I asked someone if being depressed whenever I was tired was normal. It was suggested that I try being nice and rewarding myself for work done when I was tired. I literally had never considered that, as when I’m tired it’s a sign that I have failed to complete the work I wanted to and I’m giving up too soon darn it. Yeah. So that was another eye-opening realization.) I need to (3.) take advantage of my current jobs which provide exactly zero life of the mind, and use that time to ponder and brainstorm. I need to (4.) eat right so I don’t get tired sooner than is necessary, and I need to (5.) embrace the fun of writing (after all, I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life, (*squee!bounce*)).

Because writing should be fun, I have decided. I get to make things. I get to make AWESOME things. (I should stop abusing italics.) I get to think about Themes and Messages and Characters and Worldbuilding and Cultural Assumptions and Plot and Voice and ALL THIS FUN STUFF. (Note: that is an entirely appropriate use of italics.) And then I get to string them all together, using language, which I love. I love all of these things. Why would I not have fun? I’m not talking giggling-euphoria levels of fun, just that these are things that I adore thinking about, talking about, and dealing with. Seriously, I SHOULD BE HAVING FUN. If I’m not enjoying this thing which delights me, I probably have other baseline things wrong with my mindset right now and maybe I should– I dunno– eat or something. Sleep. Play Tetris. Take a shower. Sleep.

There’s so much STUFF on the internet about “write every day” and “write even if you don’t want to” and “butt in chair” and “the reader can’t tell the difference between words you wrote when you were having fun and words you wrote when you hated everything,” etc, etc, ad nauseum. The attitude seems to be that if you’re having fun you’re doing it wrong. You should be sweating blood, you know. You should feel PAIN. LIKE AN ADULT.

And I’m using my status as an adult to choose to ignore all that. Gonna have fun, gonna do cool stuff, gonna make things explode. *nch nch nch*

I am also going to find a way to explain this picture.

I feel as though in deciding this and then saying it in text I am committing a great heresy against the orthodoxy of the internet. YEAH I AM A HERETIC WHOOO.

To sum up: I have two victory conditions for achieving Success: that I write things I am proud of– that are funny and awesome and people want to re-read, and that I do not hate my life and how long it took me to get there. I need to be nice to myself while I live and write and work and get to my dream job.

See, I told you it’d be a rambling blog post. 😀

P.S. World-building note:  How WEIRD is facebook and our self-construction of our identity through it?


8 thoughts on “The road to Success

  1. I feel as though in deciding this and then saying it in text I am committing a great heresy against the orthodoxy of the internet.
    Can I be a heretic with you? Because I entirely believe you need to have fun with writing. (Enough stuff in life makes us miserable. I don’t think writing, if that is what you love, should be one of those things.)

    I sometime slip up (c’mon, I’m mostly human) and forget that this is important–but I love writing, and it makes me happy, and I do not want it to be an un-fun thing which turns into drudgery and sucks all the joy out of that space in my heart.

    So, Jazz, good for you. (Also, buy cheap scimitars! <–fulfilling spambot duties) Continue to have fun writing. 😀

  2. Let me tell you something. The reader absolutely can tell the difference between words you wrote when you were having fun and words you hated every minute of writing. But if you’re hating every minute, you have to keep writing anyway because otherwise you will stop. The fun will come back. So what do you do, when you’re hating life and all your words are flat or off or just plain dull? You keep writing. And you edit the hell out of that first draft, and you do it with the joy you get from the overall story, and then those words, those dull, flat, hated words, become the foundation for the lovely story you’re writing.

    Have fun. Because writing is so difficult and so financially unrewarding that if you’re not having fun, you really should be doing something else.

  3. Dude, that’s a cassowary attacking a dude who has smartly armed himself with a shield of sorts. Most people are accustomed to thinking of cassowaries as big silly birds like emus and ostriches, but what these people fail to take into account is that related to them, unlike emus and ostriches the cassowary has what basically amounts to bayonets on both of its feet, and it knows how to use them. It is basically a velociraptor with feathers. There is scientific evidence, in fact, that cassowaries are the direct descendants of velociraptors. Of course, they won’t eat you after they rip you apart, but that’s small consolation when one has been painfully mauled to death.

    *cough* And I applaud your continuing resolve! I hope that I shall be able to imitate it someday relatively soon.

  4. It’s amazing what a difference rested vs. tired makes, especially long grinding tired over months or years. I used to despise and despair of myself for being unable to produce well, and I lost the fun in writing (I lost the fun in almost everything). Now that I’m in serious allergy treatment and recovering, it shocks me sometimes how much I just straight-up like writing. The experience strongly taught me the importance of working only to my reserves, not beyond them–and even more important, not resenting myself for needing sleep or reading-time or a night spent glazing Merc’s eyes with babble about merino vs alpaca fiber. I end up liking myself and writing more, if I do that, rather than suffering in useless but dedicated misery.

    • Thank you for saying this. 😀

      I’m glad that your allergy treatment is working! And I so agree. (Obviously.) Ruining my temperament to do something out of duty/guilt, instead of taking care of myself, is not productive in the long run. It just makes writing into another part of the long list of things I hate, and I DO NOT WANT to do that!

  5. I am so proud to be your friend. I know how hard all of this is cuz I’m still stuck back in the self-hatred section. *points* So you are epic for pushing past that and slogging on with all the dumb stuff to get to the GOOD stuff.

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