Writers: Stop Beating Yourself Up

How many of you have been on a writing binge and cranked out tens of thousands of words, only to find yourself drained at the end of it?  It happens.  I am blessed, as I know some of you are, to have days, if not weeks of creative energy where I can crank out sentence after sentence, page after page, and then when it’s all said and done, look back and have a sense of fulfillment.  I have also had days without end where there isn’t a drop of creative juice in my body and I can stare at a screen and even forced, cannot convey the simplest of ideas.  I believe all writers experience this, no matter how good you are, no matter how many books you’ve written, or how much experience in this profession you have.  We are not automatons.  We are people with real-world issues affecting us.

From a personal perspective, during the months of May and June I put over 200,000 words to paper, and since then I may have written 10,000 words total and guess what happened during that time? Life.  It happens to all of us.

I have been editing my first novel, writing short stories, and have dabbled in other little writing projects, but I haven’t been writing to the level that I had planned.  

Guess what? It’s okay. Life happens.  

You wanted to write five thousand words, and you only wrote three thousand.  Guess what?  It’s ok.  Life happens.

You wanted to finish editing your novel and you didn’t.  Guess what? It’s ok.  Life happens.

Don’t let those things you don’t finish hold you back.  Life is happening around you.

Don’t forget to be a part of it.

Be Real About What You Want

Do you have a burning desire to complete something just to complete it, or are you taking the time to craft your story, your masterpiece, regardless of how many you create, to the standards you desire?

I often read about writers who are so consumed about meeting their writing goals of x number of words per day.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love goals.  Setting goals is great for keeping us focused and for completing those things that important to us.  Goals, unrealistically set, taking into account the number of responsibilities many of us have, can also be a bane, a detriment to our productivity.  If we don’t realistically set our goals, with our priorities in mind, it can lead to losing focus, diminished capacity for creativity, and lack of completion because we are so obsessed with the goal that we often forget why we are setting that goal.  

As writers, we often get disappointed in ourselves with what we don’t do, and are often not proud enough of ourselves for what we actually accomplish.  Many of us don’t make a living from writing, but there are a lucky few who do and to those, I tip my hat. Job well done!

For the rest of us not yet fortunate, if that is our goal, to have the opportunity to make a living from writing, we have many other things in our life, such as a different full-time job, school, family, or other responsibilities that we have made a greater priority.  We handle our responsibilities because that’s what we’re supposed to do.  We need to remember not to be too hard on ourselves for not writing as much as we’d like while handling all of the issues that life throws at us.  

I know that I will be more productive when I set aside the time to write more and I’m not going to beat myself up for it.  I don’t have any writing “deadlines” that are earth shattering if I don’t meet them.  Yes, I want to complete the editing of my first novel by the end of the year, but if life’s events prevent me from doing so, then so be it.  I’ll make adjustments and complete it when I can and I refuse to feel bad about it.  

Like many writers, writing is my escape.  It is where I go to find solace and peace.  I am not going to corrupt that with unnecessary pressures to complete something because of a “deadline”.  I am completing what I can complete because of the love I have for this art.  I see writers are frequently rushed to complete something as if their life depends on it.  I can understand why deadlines are important for people who make their living from writing, but for those of us who don’t, what is the rush?  Set your goal but don’t ever forget why you’re doing this in the first place.

We Write Because We Love To Write

When you love to write and you are setting a goal for yourself, do it realistically.  If writing on Tuesdays is always a problem because of work, school, or any other factor, then don’t set yourself up for failure by planning to write on Tuesday.  You’re just going to hurt yourself in the long run by setting yourself up for failure.  

Every Word Counts

Whether you write 100 words a day or 10,000 words a day, you are still pursuing your dream and you should be proud of yourself for that alone.  I know that any words I write toward the end goal are a success, and if I don’t write the exact number of words I aspire to write, it is not a failure on my part.  This is an acceptance of living in the real world and dealing with real-world issues.  Writing is one of them, however, if I don’t write, the world is not going to end.  

Think About Real-World Concerns

If I don’t go to my job, there will be repercussions.  If I don’t finish school work, there will be repercussions.  If I don’t pay attention to my family, there will be repercussions.  If I don’t write, then my document will remain unfinished until I finish it.  That’s all that will happen and I refuse to succumb to pressures I would generate for myself by not writing the x amount of words per day.  I will write when I can as I can and expect no issues from anyone on it, especially myself.

Live. Write. Enjoy.  

Published by

Nathaniel Kaine

Nathaniel Kaine, the youngest of five children, was born on the east coast and spent his formative years in a small Midwestern town in northwest Indiana. As the youngest of five children, his siblings much older, he developed a penchant for crafting and writing tales as a way to entertain people. At the young age of seventeen, he shed his Midwestern roots for a more adventurous life in the U.S. Navy, where he had a broad array of experiences in the submarine service, surface naval units, and Foreign Service, specializing in electronics and communications. His time in the service allowed him to travel extensively, both in the United States and abroad, working in and visiting over 40 countries, experiencing and embracing many cultures. He spent a majority of his time, living and traveling throughout Central and South America, where he became fluent in Spanish while working with foreign military units on an advisory and training basis. Nathaniel has worked in the Financial Services Industry and currently works in Information Technology having held a number of different positions in both, constantly seeking the challenging aspects of his fields. Nathaniel’s avid love of the outdoors and adventure has led him on many interesting journeys, through the Andes in South America, the Amazon, diving in many of the world’s oceans, spending time on safari in Kenya, visiting the outback in Australia, constantly looking for ways to explore. Nathaniel and his wife, Meghan, have two young children, with whom they spend most of their waking hours. He also has three older children from a previous marriage to Kathleen, who passed away from cancer at an early age. Nathaniel takes much of his creative inspiration from classical authors such as Robert Louis Stevenson, James Fenimore Cooper and Herman Melville, and modern-day authors such as Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Lee Childs, John Grisham, and Clive Cussler.

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