I have worked on my redraft for months now, exploring new paths, rewriting old chapters, and discovering new aspects of myself in the process. I have done my best to show up and write as often as possible and to commit to lofty goals that will one day hopefully see me as a full time writer.
And yet, when I read my work, I can hear a hollowness in my characters’ words and a lack of colour in my world. Authenticity is missing, and no matter how many times I delete and try again, I just can’t seem to find it. Compounding this is the guilt I feel for not posting here often enough, for not commenting on my favourite blogs, for not staying in touch with my writerly mates.
I’m desperate to complete this draft and send it out into the world and find some readers who like what I do…and I think that’s where the problem lies.
We live in a society where a writer’s success is predicated on bestsellers, money and fame. According to the myriad of blogs, books and websites out there, a true writer needs to write every day, post on their twitter/facebook/blog/whatever every second day, comment on other writers’ social media every other day, network at every festival and con they can get to, and generally tell the world that they’re the next best thing…without being annoying about it. Do all that, and you might enjoy a modicum of success.
A writer needs to hold onto their passion for writing. You lose your passion, you’re just working another shitty day job. And what’s the point of that?
So I’m going to spend my precious writing time just focussing on the fact that I love to write. It is a stabilising, joyful force in my life. I get to live in two worlds. I get to discover words like ‘pyknic’ and ‘sabrage’ and I get to flood my sentences with my friend, the gerund. I get to live a life I find fulfilling.
It’s my version of writerly success.