My Story is a Sad One.
I have been feeling extremely guilty about the sorry state of the book on which I’m supposedly working. I have exactly two chapters completed, only three pages of which have undergone outside critique. That’s not exactly the sign of a burgeoning writer.
Crack that WIP.
WIP it out.
WIP it good.
I had to look this up. Not having been in the online writing community very long, I wasn’t familiar with all their little codes and abbreviations and hash-tags and whatnot. WIP stands for Work In Progress. Ha! For me, it’s more like Work In the Potty. Or as my 7-year-old says, “Work is PooPoo!”
But then she got serious and said, “Work is Practice”. I can live with that one.
The problem with Practice is that you have to actually do it. And therein lies the problem. I keep signing up for challenges as motivation to get my ass into gear, but I can’t seem to find the time (or, to be fair, won’t MAKE the time) to add more words to my current tally. And it’s not like I don’t want to! I am very excited about my current piece. The characters feel very real to me, and their individual stories keep whispering in my ear. I can’t wait to get to know them better!
Camp NaNoWriMo is the summer version of the much more renowned campaign to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, which takes place every November. I’ve signed up the last two Novembers (and “failed”). I thought now that I’m not working outside the home, a summer session might just be what the doctor ordered. As I pen this post, I have exactly ZERO words added. It’s now Day Six. I’m a bit behind, yeah?
Not Challenged Enough, Andi-Roo?
I’m also following along with Jeff Goins on his 15-Day Writing Challenge, during which time we will learn Habits of Great Writers. I find this particularly pertinent in that Habit One is: Declare You Are A Writer, and Habit Two is: Believe You Are A Writer.
The first habit actually leads to the second, so I kind of got a “Free Pass” for Day Two. *And there was much throwing of glitter!*
I Do Hereby Declare,
and I Do Solemnly Swear
I Am Soulfully Aware
I am A Writer.
~ Andi-Roo (go ahead and steal this; you know you wanna.)
See, this past weekend, before I ever read the steps or habits or challenge information, I was forced into a metaphorical corner. A family member decided to take our financial situation into his own hands, and insinuated that I’m not pulling my weight in getting us back on our feet. Let me take that back; the piss-ant didn’t merely insinuate; he flat out said I need to get a job. I get a gold star for NOT punching said-piss-ant in the nose. And I have the most awesome hubz on this planet, because he jumped right in and defended me by explaining that I already have a job. Eat that, un-supportive family member!
Writing is my job.
I said it out loud, too, just to see how it felt coming out of my mouth.
Not, “I’m working on a novel.”
Not, “I’m working on a blog.”
Not, “I like to write.”
I’m a Writer. Writing is my job. I Write. I’m a Writer.
Tasted great, BTW. Not at all like chicken. Have some.
But here’s where I start to question things a bit. What kind of writer am I? I’ve been blogging every day since the Blogging from A to Z Challenge this past April, so I can say with no hesitation that I am a Blogger. I write blogs.
But what about my stories? My books? My fiction? My WIP? My DREAMS of being published?
Oh. My dreams.
That might be the rub. I recently read a post that set my heart to singing. Tracy from The Dao of Doing made it so clear to me what I’m doing wrong, why I am having such a hard time focusing on my WIP, why my bloggy-blog seems to have taken over the driver’s seat, and why I am feeling such guilt.
“When we started our very first steps down this path,
I picked something that wasn’t just
something I loved to do…
it was all about my big dream in life:
writing a novel.
I do love to write,
but by choosing writing as my first “DOING”
I tossed myself into the very deepest part
of my mental pool.
I was trying to relearn what it is to live a life
that includes things I love
while at the same time
trying to achieve my dream.
Those are two separate things.
Trying to do them at the same time isn’t so pretty.”
I couldn’t agree more! Doing something I love everyday – Blogging – may be a form of Writing – which I love to do – but it isn’t the same thing as trying to achieve my dream – which, like Tracy, also happens to be writing a novel.
So what am I? A Blogger? Or a Writer? I’m going to say BOTH. And that’s what I mean by “Challenge Accepted”. Just not necessarily both at the same pace. Yes, I’m signed up to write a book. Yes, I’m going to work on my book. Yes, I’m going to keep meeting with my monthly critique group and presenting pages from my book. But – and this one is important – Yes, I’m okay with only producing three pages at a time. Forward motion is still better than lying on the couch, curled up under an afghan, doing nothing. (Even though afghans do possess magical healing properties. FACT.)
(My husband says that afghans indeed do NOT possess magical healing properties, to which I respond, “Fuck you and your non-afghan-loving ways!”)
“I don’t have to lean on the excuse,
I can only write when I’m feeling creative.
When you don’t have the option
to write whether you feel creative or not, you will.
And that friends, is what makes you a writer
instead of a blogger.”