I wish I could say that my not working on my novel writing in March at all was a glorified April Fools Joke, but this unfortunate (not) happening is very much real. And in all honesty, I’ve just been too busy. But I’ve used that excuse too many times at this point. It’s a true statement, but it also doesn’t fully encompass my frustration. You see it’s not just the lack of novel writing that’s bothering me. It’s actually my writing in general.
In January of 2014, I decided to start a blog and write a chapter in my novel every month because I felt like I wasn’t doing enough writing. My brain felt like it was melting under the monotonous trudge of the nine-to-five career life. It was my first year not being anywhere near academia, and the idea of losing my intelligent “edge” terrified me. So I decided to try to fix that the best way I knew how: writing. I set out goals for myself (i.e. one blog a week and one chapter a month), and I stuck to it even when “real life” was hammering down on me. Over a year later, I’m still trying to follow that formula, but life is battering on me even harder. And I’ve had to make tough decisions between career-betterment and completing my writing goals.
I haven’t written in my novel for a while because I feel like my quality was suffering. I was churning out chapters and words and basic plot premises, but it was lacking the joy and originality that made it inspiring and kept me addicted to writing. I have the same feeling about my blog right now too. I’ve continued writing on it, but I don’t feel the ideas come as freely as before. Usually what happens is that I have an inspired idea, but I realize that I don’t have time to write it for the next blog so I decide to churn out something “simple” which basically turns into a page of meaningless words. I tend to start with a good premise but run out of steam or time halfway through, and it falls flat. I’ve even had people comment to tell me that. It hurts to see strangers so easily picking apart my flaws, but I know it’s true. I don’t have the brain energy or mental space to really make as much quality content as I am producing. Some of it just becomes “content” that I’m doing for the sake of doing with an occasional burst of inspiration.
My YouTube channel is my baby. It’s my passion. I’ve been working on it for nearly four years now so I put almost all my creative energies into it. Then I have my job and my boyfriend and my family and my church and my volunteer positions and my blog and my personal website and my job searching and my novel writing and my health and my own personal enjoyment in life which is pretty minimal sometimes. And how am I supposed to do all of those things WELL?
I can’t, I suppose. Which is why you’re getting quantity here and not always quality. It’s not because I don’t enjoy writing these blogs. I really do. Writing and blogging is an art form that allows me to express certain ideas and thoughts I have in a different way than on YouTube. I feel like I can be a little more honest here (i.e. I don’t have to always put on a brave face when talking about difficult subjects). And I feel like I can talk more freely about “adult topics” (whereas I tailor my YouTube channel to 13 year-old girls looking for advice and/or a role model).
I’m not saying that I’m going to stop blogging. I’m not even saying that I’m giving up on my novel writing goal. Instead, I’m recognizing my faults: I’m producing a lot of quantity and not quality. But I want to be producing more quality while still keeping my quantity of work. How do I do that? I’m not quite sure. But I think it starts with being more mindful of my work. And that’s what I’m going to do. I doubt it will be an immediate change, but it’s got to be worth something to recognize my problem and start brainstorming ways to work through it. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?
Haha! Happy April! And here’s to a new month with better intentions!