Being a writer is awesome. Next to being a mom, I’d say it’s definitely my favorite thing. I love how things changed the day I decided I was no longer an “aspiring” writer. No more dreaming, there was only doing. I’ve learned a lot along the way.
Every writer chooses their own path based on what they want to gain from writing and also from their own personal experiences. Being a writer means different things to different people. Writers are as diverse a group as anyone else.
For a long time I thought of myself as an aspiring author, because I wasn’t quite “there,” wherever “there” actually is. With the help of others (many of them being amazing writers I’ve had the good fortune to get to know, either in person or online), I learned that I wasn’t “aspiring” to be anything, I already WAS.
My writing has changed along the way. I’ve changed along the way. My goals have changed along the way. That’s a good thing. With any career you reach forks in the road and you have to pick one. You don’t get to see what will happen down each of them, you just trust your instincts and choose. You keep going til you reach another fork then you make another choice. It’s the journey.
I’m lucky to have had some articles published recently. It was something I applied for on a whim, and it’s been an incredible part of my journey. I get to write about something near and dear to my heart (ADHD), and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I’m always reluctant to reach out for opportunities like this, always that little part of me that still feels like I’m learning, and so have no business applying. Another great choice I made once I got rid of the “aspiring” author kind of thinking.
I reached a point last month where I just felt stuck. I wanted to write – had so many ideas for things I needed to write – and yet it was all becoming difficult. I’d changed my priorities, reshuffled my projects, and yet something was still off. I needed to get to work on a project that had once had potential and had garnered some interest, but now I wasn’t so sure. I needed to shake things up, separate my work life from the stresses that were in my personal life that I thought was causing this lack of inspiration. So I signed up for a writing course.
I love writing courses. I’ve taken a few over the years, whenever I could. I love learning about writing, gaining new insights, seeing things in a new light and becoming better at my chosen craft. There is always something you can learn from someone else. Always.
I obviously love to read. But let’s be completely honest. A single parent with ADHD and Anxiety, parenting a child with ADHD, Anxiety, OCD, and Depression, while trying to shuffle a day job and a freelance writing career- it now takes me forever to finish a book where I used to go through them like water. One of the first tasks I was given in this writing course was to read roughly twenty books in different sub-genres of the genre I was interested in. There is also a reading form to be filled out for each book. It was just questions to be filled out on the plot, the characters, ect.
At first I just thought, twenty books? It will take me a year. I’ll never manage it. I knew the reason for reading the books. I knew filling out the forms for each was a learning experience. You study literature to create literature. You learn all you can.
Then the craziest thing happened. I picked up the first book and read it in three days. As I took notes on my form along the way, then sat with it when I was done and filled it all in, I couldn’t wait to reach for the second book. By the third book, that form was my best friend. I knew that dissecting these books was helping me to become not just a better writer, but a better reader. I was reading differently. I was a more active participant in the book. I had definite opinions. I was enjoying them more.
Funny how a writing class and a reading questionnaire have transformed how I read. I believe I’m getting more out of the books, just because I’m looking at them differently. I’s hard to explain, but I’m enjoying becoming a better reader. I’m enjoying learning what other authors can show me through their work. I always thought I was an active reader. I always noticed things, would copy down bits I especially liked as well as bits I didn’t. I’d try to look at the work from several different ways. Maybe I just wasn’t asking myself the right questions while I was reading. Maybe I just wasn’t asking enough. Either way, something has kind of clicked with the way I’m reading. Maybe it’s just because I’m more mindful, knowing I will have specific questions to answer when I’m done.
I have a few projects of my own still on hold. They may be there for quite some time, but I’m okay with that. When the time is right I will be able to work on them. I’m trying hard to concentrate on one specific goal right now and work toward it. Even if it doesn’t work this time around, doesn’t mean I’ll quit trying. Writing is my life. It’s part of me. And it’s my job.
It’s Sunday. It’s my one day off from my day job. I used to spend it cleaning and doing laundry and all the other things that got pushed aside during the week. Then I decided no more. Sunday wasn’t made to play catch up. And today? Today is a gorgeous, warm, breezy, bright sunshiny kind of day. I haven’t scrubbed my porches yet; haven’t tackled those spring cleaning chores, but that’s okay. I spent an hour this morning cleaning out the garage, and now, I’m sitting on my front porch, getting ready to tackle some studying, and then some reading. It’s a beautiful day and I can’t think of a nicer way to spend it.