I have been writing semi-seriously for almost four years, starting in about September of 2014. I remember because it was just before Legend of Korra’s fourth season aired and I was all about Korrasami fan fiction. Prior to that I have never written for fun, with an exception of a couple of paragraphs for an original story that I forgot about even as I posted it on some fanfic dot net affiliate.
It feels like I’ve been writing forever, at least four years seems like a long time, but more often than not I’ve gone through periods of manic writing that lasted days, and then experienced months of radio silence.
There are a lot of excuses I have lined up, some are even fairly solid. I have a lot of school work (not a great one, I coasted through college and bs-ed every paper ever), I have a lot of responsibilities (sort of solid, but not as time consuming as I tell myself), and, finally, I don’t have free time. Now this last one is both the biggest lie I ever told myself and the most true fact.
I have a lot of free time if I add all the little chunks of it together, I watched like 400 hours of Critical Role in the last three-ish months, but solid blocks of free time are just not there. I have twenty-minute increments in between thing that have to be done, but I can’t get into the groove of writing in that time. I guess at some point I just sort of grew tired of feeling frazzled and of spending almost as long editing as writing the damn stuff because it felt like it was written by ten different people with how disjointed it was.
There are thousands of awesome writers out there who are cranking out regular content while having families and full-time jobs and all that, and I am wildly impressed and insanely jealous of them. I don’t strive to be like them, because I know my limitations and how fast that type of schedule would wear me out, but I also want to have regular writing time so much. It’s my sanity, man!
I have tried many different things. Being engaged in fandoms I write in only bolsters some of the motivation, but that’s not enough to keep me going, only to get me started. Comments from readers and the rare fan mail or interaction are great and energizing, but only do so much to counteract the tiring bursts of manic writing. I tried a spreadsheet to keep track of my writing that has a few days of entries before tapering off into nothingness. I made a secondary blog where I can have others keep myself accountable, but it has like three posts, all months apart. I set strict schedules that never worked out. I tried a lot of stuff. Some things just don’t work.
I’m trying a new approach and I’m sure that it isn’t going to last forever, but I’m hoping that it will tide me over until classes start next month. I’m not posting the chapters of my new supercorp fan fiction until I finish it, or nearly finish it at the least. I already have two chapters done, and a third on the way, and I’m dying for the validation that readers give with their comments, but I’m using it as fuel to get myself to write consistently even if not daily. I’m 9k words in and it seems to be working out well so far. I guess it’s like breaking a bad habit, we take it one day at a time.
Have any of you wonderful folks experienced this? Have any fun strategies (or even not so fun ones)? Let’s complain about it together.
Oh! And check out my story on Heather Rose Jones’ podcast! It’s been out for a while, but as y’all can see, I’m super good as self-promoting and getting my stuff out there, very diligent about it.