Monday, May 26, 2014


In 2010, I started blogging. It was the right thing to do. Before I knew it, the "life and whatnot" blog I had planned became an all-out writing blog. I met writers from all over the world, and found several handfuls of friends that I now can't imagine living life without.

I wrote. And wrote, and wrote.

And then, I stopped.

I didn't stop out of boredom. I didn't stop because of giving up. I stopped because life started to happen.

I moved to a major city, got plugged into a church I adore, found myriad new passions and ideas.

It hurts, a touch (or more than a touch), to acknowledge that I pushed writing aside. I don't want to admit that its role in my life has gone from ULTIMATE to ONE OF MANY.

Does this mean I'm no longer pursuing writing as a career? I don't know. I just really don't know. It does not mean that I'm no longer working on my craft. I still have the desire to learn how to make stories go, to the best of their ability. Make believe is still my #1 heartthrob, in all its varied forms. But, oh, what a life this is, now, to also have a #2, and 3, and probably 4.

No regrets.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

why i sometimes don't make goals.

It's happened before, and it could happen again, I'm sure. The inspiration comes knocking, the whole world gets exciting. And then a limit happens.

It's completely and utterly all-in-my-head, I know. Goals are not limits. They serve different purposes.

In many ways, they are opposites, so what's going on? Why should a goal feel like a limit?

Short answer: anxiety. Addendum: guilt. And who could forget fear?

Turns out, I'm great at avoiding things that make me uncomfortable. In the past, goal-making has been wonderfully helpful, don't get me wrong. It will be in the future too, I'm sure. But there are just SOME DAYS.

I open the laptop. I announce a goal on twitter or on my writing group's facebook page. And then it all becomes ABOUT THAT NUMBER.

Let's say the number was 1000.

Let's say it's been a bad six months for writing.

Let's say I'm only giving myself today.

At this point in my situation, with my current writing brain, one of two things will happen:

  • I'll get to that 1000. Oh, you bet I will. I SAID I would, didn't I? (But I will I want to look at that 1000 ever again? Will it be usable? Will there be any creative progress? Usually not, if I'm this far out of the loop. Getting back in the game requires patience, self.)
  • I'll be too crippled by self-doubt to even TRY properly. I will celebrate 62 words and go eat some chocolate.

The goal, of course, is not the issue. Goals are good! You can always tell that I'm in the right place with writing if I'm making daily goals and sticking to them and actually telling people the end result (not, mind you, the opening plan).

Amusingly, let's check out my most recent tweet:

Hoo buddy, guess how much writing I actually did that day? ZILCH.

This is why my critique partners call me a hermit crab. If I don't keep certain things close to my chest at certain times, it all falls apart. And that's okay! That's what I've decided. It's OKAY to need to go about goal-making in a different way. For instance, I actually do have a LOT of writing goals, and goals for other creative endeavors. They're good. They make sense. But they're like birthday wishes.

If I tell you, they might not come true!

So, how do I get work done at a time like this, you ask? Well, I feel like it works backwards. Instead of saying "I'm going to write 1000 words today," I might just pick up my laptop and go. A good approach for me is qualitative rather than quantitative. Two out of seven days of good 400-word scenes trumps a week-long slew of creative clutter (which is often what happens when I try to go too fast).

Write first, count later.

And of course, it's contingent on where you are. I've barely been in my story since summer, so there's a lot of picking up and brushing off going on over here. Like an archaeological dig. However, in a few more months, maybe I'll be setting up my finds for display in a museum. Or, more likely, piecing together and binding broken pots. All of these stages have different needs. No two look alike.

Important self-discovery: unless it is a purely fresh, unknown draft, I write like an anxious, caffeinated sloth with no friends.

And that's okay.