Not Keeping Promises to Myself and my Struggles as a Writer7 min read
When I made the decision to start writing and blogging again, it wasn’t an easy one. I’ve always felt very naked and exposed, and always got nervous when I realized that someone out there was reading my words, the words which I clacked out on the keyboard. That feeling was also far worse when someone I knew personally was reading my work.
One lucky blessing is that I’m now in a relationship with a writer, and we’re able to encourage each other, share notes, and validate each other’s words. Validation is an important part of writing, especially in the beginning; in fact, validation is a really important part of being human. He can tell me where I’m going wrong, because he is a far better writer than I will ever be, and give me clear, concise criticism in my weaker areas.
A piece of advice for new writers: if you don’t have a writing partner, you should join a group, whether physically or digitally, for writing support because it’s vital, especially in the early stages.
Today I updated my Twitter and Instagram bios to simply, “writer”, instead of marketing executive and blogger, yada, yada, yada… To be honest, I’m not just a blogger anymore, and my career focus on a long term basis isn’t about marketing or business, or blogging about it. I have learned so many lessons along the path of my so-far-failed career journey, and these lessons will help me along the way of writing and becoming a successful writer.
So why ‘writer’? Because that’s what I spend 90% of my day doing: writing. Whether it’s a short story, a blog post, a book, or a strategy, most of my time is spent writing, or researching on a topic I’m going to write. And it’s relieving to be able to just say “writer”, when someone asks me what I do. Will I accept contract work to write for brands? Probably not. I own what I write and these are my words, my brand.
Excuse #1: Never good enough
I never felt like I was good enough to call myself a proper blogger, far less a writer. I’d like to think that everyone thinks that they are a terrible writer, when they first start out; and on some level, that does make me feel less shitty about myself. I am pretty crappy writer when compared to the likes of Tolkien, Hemingway and Austin, but I believe that my style of writing is my own, and it is not in the same league, or even the same genres! I would never compare myself to the literary greats, even if by some minute shred of luck I become a best-selling author (although, you have to actually publish something for this to happen!).
So, suddenly my writing capabilities have morphed into something that’s a little more than average? No. I have simply grown as a writer, and will continue to. I spent some time looking back on some of my articles and blogs from about five years ago, and man… what a train wreck! From the venting, to the sloppy grammar; I really want to unpublish all of that work. And I did have it all unpublished for nearly a year, until I realised last week that I’d rather readers see my growth over time, rather than just what’s current.
To tackle this excuse, I just had to admit, and keep admitting, to myself that I’m not a J.K. Rowling, but I am a Désiré Roberts, and my skill will continue to grow. Five years from now, I’ll probably look back on this and think, “what a load of crap!”
Excuse #2: Never had the time
Busy is as busy does, and boy was I a busy bee! Honestly, I wasted a lot of time thinking about writing, and not actually writing. I reckon most of that came from not feeling like I was good enough, but, it also stemmed from my lack of routine and workflow. When I was working full time, back in 2013 and 2014, I seemed to find the time to write at least one thing a month, or maybe every two months, but the second I fell out of that routine in 2015, my productivity fell through the floor of my glass house.
As of the last month, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and introspecting into what I really want to do with my life, and what I hope to achieve in the future, near and long term. Now that I have those goals in perspective, and I’m working full time again, I strangely have more time and focus to dedicate to writing and researching.
Finding your footing, grounding yourself, stabilising your finances and getting into a good routine (and sticking to it!) are all really necessary to leading a successful life, not just a career. But I can safely tell you, it’s far easier said than done, and takes a hell of a lot of sacrifice.
I’ve bought myself Scrivener, and have begun writing on the tube to and from work. It’s a great way to spend my time, and it’s a good 90 minutes of my day at the very least. So, gone is the excuse that I can’t write because I haven’t the time. I now have to make the time in order to publish something half decent every Monday.
Excuse #3: Not honest enough
Another issue I had was simple to identify, but not easy to rectify: I wasn’t being honest. I never lied about statistics or data. But I was lying to myself for a long time. I spent the better part of five years trying to decide if I wanted to write about my sexual abuse and its effect on me. It has taken me five years and just under 5000 miles of physical distance for me to finally make the decision to just write it.
Why was this such an issue? Because, even though I was writing about business and marketing, I felt like a fraud. I felt like my life was a lie, and to a great extent, it was. The most important part of my healing was for me to stand and say, ‘yes, I was abused as a teen’ but to also end it with, ‘I didn’t only survive, I thrived.’ I’m not broken as a result of my experiences, I’m far stronger for it. But in some really messed up way, no matter what I wrote about, that honesty was just struggling to break through, like a brewing volcano, waiting to explode. Everything I wrote that was personal was tainted, and for those who could read between the lines, they could tell something was not quite right.
Looking back, I’ve said on so many occasions that I’ve made the decision to write more often, and that I’ve re-worked the content strategy, and I was ready for a new chapter of my blog. All of it lasted for two weeks, max. I never stuck to any schedules and I never really wrote what I wanted to write, until now.
Today, my writing has a purpose and a responsibility, to connect with people on a very human and empathetic level, to guide them through their dark tunnels, and to help them thrive, too. Yes, there is a little bit of selfishness here; I hope to find some deeper healing with being honest. I hope that in writing what happened, and telling people that no matter what they will be okay, that I will be okay too. I’m not broken, but I still have wounds that need to be closed.
You don’t need to read it. But someone will.