Letters for Creatives #64: The struggle as a writer
But I am here for it
Hello, I am Celeste. Thank you 21 new readers who subscribed, including Leslie, Heather and Rajhesh. Take a look at my writing prompts, the archive and the newsletter directory to find what you need now.
I have not write anything in 2022. This newsletter does not count as writing because it is not a story or poem. In retrospect, Spring 2020 was my most prolific time in terms of writing creatively.
Since I quitted my job at that time and tried to figure out what to do next, I got drawn to expressing myself with words. It was my way to process emotions but now it kinds of feel like a job. No, it is not a job. It is a hobby that became a job because of my way of thinking. I hit writer’s block not only once but a few times since 2021. My process of writing is like being a spoiled kid who needs all the time and space to explore different things themselves.
In a way, creative writing is led by our inner child that needs enough stimulation, inspiration, solitude (sometimes collaboration), space and time to create a masterpiece. 2020 felt like a luxury with all the time and space I had.
But it ended and I need to figure out how I can balance creative writing with a day job. I probably have to accept that a lot of my future drafts are going to be terrible (hopefully I would only have terrible first drafts but wonderful outcomes). I want to keep challenging myself to write something different. I have been writing the same few topics for ages and I want to improve my craft. It may take 10 years or my whole life to finally feel that I have mastered this craft of storytelling but I am ready to put in the work.
Nothing beats the feeling of elation during and after writing a great piece. Sometimes it leaves me shredding some tears of joy. Maybe that is the feeling that keeps me coming back to writing after experiencing so many roadblocks and imposter syndrome (I still wish my first language is English because vocabulary would not be a problem).
If you want to share your experience as a writer or artist, you are more than welcome to share in the comments. I would love to read them. Even though we write and create alone, it does not mean that we are alone with the struggles that come with it.
On writing with a day job
Not everyone has the privilege to be a full-time writer, working on their fictions or poetry collections. Most of them have a day job to sustain their life, instead of freaking out as their income fluctuates.
Other writers are living writerly lives, while you are filing and answering emails. Here you are sitting in a cubicle or at a meeting, and your friend is in the woods finishing her novel. People are traveling and going to monthlong residencies and you are not a real writer. The act of writing will redraw your focus to the whole point of working a day job: You are working a day job so you can support yourself and write. There are many kinds of writing lives, and yours includes a day job. We are all getting it done in our own way, on different paths, at our own speed.
— Richard Mirabella
Richard Mirabella wrote an incredible piece on finding time to write with his day job. His job keeps him from writing his books but he managed to write when everyone was sleeping in late nights and not yet awake in early mornings.
A friend got him to start NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words within a month. It got him into a disciplined schedule. He keeps his discipline to write for half an hour for every weekday when he keeps going his day job. He also realized his job inspires his writing in some way:
It becomes a twin life, something hovering within your daylight existence. It’s more important to me now than ever before. I carry it with me as a reminder to examine everything, that work is not just work but a part of life that can feed writing. … All I can say is it is worth it to endure the not-knowing, the slow pace, the waiting, the shifting around of time, finding time. It’s worth it to do the most you can to keep writing in your life.
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Music that got me in the zone: ODESZA
I love everything they do. Off to another world with myself and words when ODESZA is on.