Writing has been difficult lately. The deeper I get into revising my novel, the harder I am having to push myself for words, for fresh creativity, for just connecting those stupid dots that I put into my first draft. There are moments of inspiration, times when I see things coming together, but in general, I just keep showing up every day to bang my head against the wall.
And my head hurts. I’ve been banging it for awhile, but I’m not giving up. This, right now, is what being a writer is about. To keep showing up, even when it’s not glamorous or exciting. To stay after everyone else packs it in because it’s too tough.
Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Novelists have, on the average, about the same IQs as the cosmetic consultants at Bloomingdale’s department store. Our power is patience. [Writing] is a lot like inflating a blimp with a bicycle pump. Anybody can do it. All it takes is time.”
Time. In a culture of instant, time is the one thing I have trouble giving myself as a writer.
And yet, time is what you and I need the most.
Time to perfect the craft. Time to keep showing up morning after morning. Time to read. Time to think. Time to write new pages, hack them to pieces, then patch them back together. If you do not devote the time, you will not experience the breakthroughs, which only have meaning because you’ve been down in the trenches fighting for so long.
Give yourself time. Nobody else will. Our culture will not praise you as you block other things out and commit to slugging out this awful, messy, twisted business of writing. In fact, the culture will pressure you to be distracted by a million other things, but you can’t listen. Saying yes to pursuing the writing life means saying no to other things. Great things.
Want to set yourself apart from the wannabe writers? Then give yourself time, give yourself a game plan, and give yourself permission to be imperfect. I am in a valley right now with my writing, but I keep moving forward because I know that sooner or later, another peak will come.
Are you in a peak or a valley right now on your writing journey? How are you giving yourself time to grow and improve as a writer?