For the past several weeks, my mind has not been on writing.
Imagine this: You’ve made an entire plan for your year, detailing exactly how you’re going to balance editing your novel, writing some new ideas, and keeping up a decent GPA, when you get your first semester report card. “Unsatisfactory study habits” is printed next to your AP chemistry grade, despite the fact that you’ve slaved away at your chemistry homework to the point where it’s probably unhealthy. Also, you start getting B’s instead of A’s on your AP Calculus quizzes. You realize that you need to work smarter, not harder, so you make more detailed lists in your bullet journal and spend your peak hours on Khan Academy. “I just signed up for a writing class outside of school,” you tell yourself. “I’m devoting time to writing through that. No harm there.”
Except, you keep using your lunch periods to finish your writing homework, and your brain is so fried that all you can clearly think or write about is the date you went on last weekend.
Also, you haven’t done the assigned reading because you’ve bored yourself to tears analyzing The Great Gatsby for school. Your guitar and your first draft are sitting next to your bed, collecting dust.
In case you couldn’t tell from the above scenario, I haven’t been happy with the way I spend my time lately. There’s been too much data-crunching, and not enough casual, passionate fun. It sucks.
But I’m also realizing that a large part of my issue isn’t that I don’t have the time to write. Honestly, there have been plenty of days when I’ve spent way too much time scrolling through my Instagram or binge-watching Jenna Moreci videos instead of actually working.
That leaves me with a new question:
I know that I’m a half-decent writer. People have told me that I’m pretty good, and if you’ve ever seen that Tumblr post talking about how poorly written some books are… well, you can probably see how that gives me confidence in my ability.
So if I know that I have some skill, I know that I could do well as a writer if I put the time into it, I’m determined to get published, and I know that I can make more time for writing with a few small changes in my life… why haven’t I done any of that?
A multitude of writers have said that consistently showing up a little bit is better than showing up in big chunks once in a blue moon, but I think there’s a part of me that still doesn’t believe that. “If it’s not a lot of progress, nobody can tell that it’s progress,” that part of me says. “You want people to see that you’re serious about this, don’t you?”
Yeah, sure. But lots of people are pessimistic AF and wouldn’t think that I was serious about writing if I waved a publishing contract in their faces.
The academic culture at my school doesn’t value creativity or the arts that much. We have an art teacher and AP Studio Art, but it’s not great. Certain programs take away all your electives and force you into academic research. Plus, they ended the debate team.
Basically, most people at school won’t care about my publishing goals one way or the other. It’s up to me. I need to stop whining about how I don’t have time to write and… well… just do it.
I have a bit of free time this weekend, so I’m going to go and actually edit some of my manuscript right now. I know that motivating myself is probably going to be something that I keep working on until I’m out of school and I have bills to pay. And then I’ll keep working on it, because I’m going to take Shia’s advice and not let my dreams be dreams.
What about you guys? Do any of you struggle with distractions or motivating yourself to write? If so, how do you cope with it?
See you guys in the next post!
~~~MandyLog in or Register to save this content for later.