“Every writer’s journey is different.” This is a piece of advice I have given out, but haven’t been taking lately. It’s so easy to advise and give encouragement to others, but so hard at times to do it for ourselves. I find myself questioning and comparing my ability, my commitment, and my success against how others are doing and managing their writing careers. And for the most part find myself falling short. Sometimes way short. Nothing shuts the muse down like brow-beating oneself.
But the truth is I’m not them. I’m not any other writer. I’m me. What works for one person will not work for me. Not only do we have different obligations, commitments, time available but also personalities. Some writers can write at a consistent breakneck speed, producing thousands upon thousands of words a day every day. I can’t. I can for a certain time period, but not on a daily basis. It’s just not the way I write best. I need time off to read, scrapbook, quilt.
Music is my muse. Without having time to just sit and listen to tunes that I have purchased, or spend some time browsing iTunes for new songs, I don’t feel ‘complete’. Some of my best characters and books have come from listening to a song and having a character or storyline come alive in my head. It’s my way to recharge. At times I feel as if any time not writing is wasted time. It means I’m not as committed as other writers. If I spent more time writing, I’d be more successful.
In order to live in the world of my characters, I have to spend time out of it. When my life only revolves around their lives (writing) then I find myself basing my worth on business … aka money. The self-defeating mindset that what I make determines my worth in life. A horrific untruth that I pound into my heart and soul. I keep reading advice that basically says the more books the better. I believe it and judge myself and work against that ‘truth’. I’ll forget about ‘my journey’ and try to duplicate others journey. Even worse, I start believing that if I’m not doing it that way (their way) it means I’m setting myself up for failure. An insistent voice scolds and says the only reason I’m not seeing success is because I’m not managing my writing career like them. But when I try, I fail and I realize the simple reason why … I’m trying to be someone else and not me. I forgot to take into account there is a difference between the words ‘mine’ and ‘their’.
What is theirs cannot be mine. For me to have ‘their’ success, I have to be ‘them’. I have to be someone else. I can’t. I can only be me. I have a different personality. A different background. Different obligations and commitments. I write best at different times. A different writing pattern and method is most suited to my personality and my life. I have to find what works best for me and use all those methods to the best of my ability.
Everyone’s journey is different and I can only succeed if I travel down mine.