Being creative is difficult.
I always want a finished product, but I do not always want to go through the process of completing it.
There is so much information out there, related to learning or building a habit or making something. With writing, I think the advice I hear the most is something like: you have to write when you don’t feel like it.
Typically, I love this advice. It can be too easy to wait until you’re ‘inspired’ or have a clear idea of what you want to write, when in reality you do have to start writing in order to get those ideas and to make progress. You can’t just sit around waiting for an entire plot to form in your mind. Creativity isn’t magical, it doesn’t just appear. Part of writing is editing and deleting, which is a bit sad but that’s the only way to reach that polished final product.
Now, typically I love this advice.
Right now I don’t, because I’m finding writing difficult.
I feel inspired to write when I think about the possibility of being published, when I think about what I want to achieve in life. And in the past few weeks, I have worked on my novel. But it’s a slow process. It’s painful, even. I sit down at my laptop and I’m restless. I write for ten minutes then find something else to do.
And I understand that to write, I need to actually write, regardless of how I’m feeling. The advice is true, I do need to sit down and spend time being creative rather than lazing around because it feels too hard.
The other day, when I had given up on writing my novel, I opened a word document of a story I’d written last year. I don’t think I liked it very much at the time, I was afraid it wasn’t a typical story. By that I mean it’s 14,000 words, which is too long to be published as a short story but is too short as a novel. If I was a well-regarded author, I could get away with publishing it as a novella, because I would already have an audience who would buy it. But it would be rare for an author to debut with a novella. I think many novellas are only published as e-books or audio books, because they would be quite small in print. (Unless you had a collection of short stories, perhaps.)
But I really enjoyed reading this story of mine. I’m quite proud of it, but annoyed that I can’t query with it as a novel.
The reason I mention this is; I wrote it! I sat down and I wrote it. And I’m amazed that I did. I don’t think I would have been inspired to write every single one of those words. But I did, and now I have a finished story which is fantastic.
I think I forget how difficult writing can be until I’m finding it difficult again. I look at all the stories I’ve written in the past, and I think to myself, what a good story. It was so easy to do, it came naturally and I loved the process. Which is mostly true; I do love the process, and writing does come naturally to me. But such a thought is not true 100% of the time. There are moments in writing where I think what I’ve written is trash, where I copy and paste things around because I’m not happy with the order, where I change the plot because I’m bored with it, where I leave paragraphs half written because I can’t get the wording right.
Looking at my completed stories, I can be so happy and proud. But in reality they all caused some kind of pain. They all had moments where I thought they wouldn’t come together, where I thought I was a bad writer, where I thought I could never finish them.
But I did.
So I guess I can again.