This year has just flown by and as usual I am thinking over everything I have done this year. It has been full of acheivements and I have not stopped for air in a long time. I have been constantly pushing forward, like an unstoppable train, despite wanting to stop, needing to stop and going past my limits. What I realised is that you don't need to write every day to be a writer as long as you are loving what you are doing and are consistent at it. It is okay to take a break.
At first, I felt like I had to write everyday because how could I have a writing blog if I don't do it every single day and for the eight months I have done so. I wrote no matter what and it made me feel proud of myself, but at the same time it sucked the joy out of the task. I wrote through exam times which were stressful enough and I wrote through the days on which I should have been working on assignments or hanging out with friends. I found myself feeling more unmotivated than ever, for anything and everything in my life. I was tired and had permanent black bags under my eyes. Not only did it have these negative side effects, it made me blind to the very blatant flaws in my novel. I was drunk on progress.
Obviously, there were positives to doing this. I had written more of my novel than I had ever imagined, and it was actually turning into an amazing story. I proved to myself that I could do this. I could be a writer and make this my job. I have already got my foot in the door with my corporate writing work. Most importantly, I proved to myself that I was not a quitter and that if I put my mind to it, everything would work itself out.
Over the last three weeks, I have had two massive assignments and since I am in the last 16 months of my degree I am doing the hardest subjects this semester. Needless to say, I haven't slept much and haven't had the brain power to write because this month I gave myself the task to go over my story and address the issues that held it back. That would (and has) needed a lot of focus and creativity. I just couldn't do it, because I was awake to 4 am each day finishing these assignments and then waking up early to attend classes and going to work. As such, I took a couple of weeks off to keep up with studies and that was the longest I went without writing for my novel this whole year. I learn so much from that.
What I learnt
I realised that my writing has nothing to do with other people. It is my writing and it is my own journey. I will take as long as I please, take as many breaks as I please and I will start over as many times as I please, in order to get it ready to enter the world. As long as I continue my journey and not give up, I am still a writer and my story deserves to be told.
I came to the decision to stop writing altogether until I fixed my plot. I have been having problems with my plot and have been trying to figure out how everything fits together. I have done a couple of plot revisions before and while they fixed the immediate problem I was still ignoring the biggest issues because they would mean that I would have to stop writing. In that time off, my novel never left my mind but it was playing a subconscious role. Now that I can address my book once more I realised that my plot isn't working and now I have decided I truly need to stop and start all over again. That is okay with me because it will lead to a better novel.
My Message To You
I hope that this post has shown you that you are not the only one feeling pressured to measure up to online writers who proclaim that they write everyday. It isn't your imagination. They aren't doing it to belittle you or make you feel inadequate for not being as dedicated. Take your time in your own writing journey and make sure that you do what makes you comfortable.
I hope this helps you as much as it helped me to air this out.