I’ll say it again. Writing 👏 Is 👏 Hard! 👏
It’s hard to get up every day, fight the urge to do things culture says are more urgent, and sit down at the page. On top of that, the writing process needs shitty first drafts. It requires mess. I hate mess. I loathe writing shitty sentences.
Writing is harder with deadlines. You must spin the mess into gold while the timer ticks. Even self-imposed deadlines, like this blog, cause anxiety.
This week, I wanted to post a long-form article on building a writing routine that sticks. I’ve been working on it for weeks. It’s not ready.
In the meantime, I thought a short round-up of my favorite books on writing practice would be an easy, 500-word piece to help hit my once-a-week goal. That draft is currently 2,000 words of brain dump and needs another two hours of editing before I can share it.
Expectations are rarely reality.
The fact that I couldn’t get either of those posts ready to publish this week upset me so much that I became physically ill. 🤒 Who’s been there?
If I don’t keep up my blog, I’ll never find readers!
If I don’t blog once a week, I’ll never be a writer!
I’m blogging about writing practice and can’t publish ONE post a week? I’m a sham! A fraud! AN IMPOSTER!
It took my loving sister to pull me aside and say, “I know the blog is your baby, but you need to give yourself a break.”
We must be gentle with ourselves. We must give ourselves grace.
I launched this blog because we writers need to re-learn basic lessons. I need to re-learn basic lessons. We need reminding again and again that we can do this––that we don’t have to “boil the ocean” (my new favorite cliché); we only have to take it one word at a time.
Let me tell you something I need to hear every single day for the rest of my life:
You are enough.
Whether you write a Pulitzer winner, an NYT Bestseller, a modest novella, an indie chapbook…or…
...if you never write another word for the rest of your life.
You are enough.
And that’s why I love collecting quotes.
If you’re like me and sometimes, oftentimes, feel depleted, overwhelmed, exhausted, over it: Print these out. Bookmark this post. Make one into a pretty graphic with WordSwag. Pin it to your phone wallpaper. Scribble one on your mirror in dry erase marker. Text one to a creative friend. Let the words be a balm.
I need truth in front of me at all times. From many voices. And that is why I write these posts. Not to publish once a week. That’s product. The process is enough. I’m here to remind you that you are enough.
10 Quotes for Writers to Lift You Up When You’re Overwhelmed
"For Christ sake write and don’t worry about what the boys will say nor whether it will be a masterpiece nor what. I write one page of masterpiece to ninety one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.” Ernest Hemingway in a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“We cannot escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us on all our exciting adventures. … Take a risk a day –– one small or bold stroke that will make you feel great once you have done it.” Susan Jeffers
“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace, and power in it.” Goethe
“Writing isn't about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it's about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It's about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” Stephen King
“Judging your early artistic efforts is artist abuse.” Julia Cameron
“Write. Just write. Start. And read as much as you can. Read widely and read different things, and sometimes while immersed in the multitude voices of others, you just might find your own.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” Joseph Chilton Pearce
“Watch yourself. Every minute we change. It is a great opportunity. At any point, we can step out of our frozen selves and our ideas and begin fresh. That is how writing is. Instead of freezing us, it frees us.” Natalie Goldberg
“Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’” The Talmud
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” Martha Graham
You are enough, friend. Go forth and spin your mess into a masterpiece. Or rest. That’s okay, too.
Either way, you’re enough. 🙏