Ink Spill

77

I was realizing the other day that I don’t just write random blog posts where I TALK. I always have a specific topic I’m talking about, or a review, or an ishness wrap-up post… I don’t just sit down and type with no idea where I’m going.

So this is just that. I’m going to type, and the topic may wander all over the place and it may be messy, but at least it will be different, and at least it will be whatever’s on my heart.

Firstly, Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Because I am largely Irish. So there’s that. It may also be the only happy thing in this post, so cling to it.

I’m tired and I’m in a writing slump because I’m still suffering a hangover from NaNo and the Rooglewood contest. I’ve discovered I don’t do well with contests. They burn me out. I still intend to do NaNo in November, but other than that I need to write for me again.

Not to mention that I’m still trying not to spend long hours at my computer because of my hurt back. (I know, people will say that’s a hollow excuse. That I could use a pen. Well I do use a pen sometimes thank you very much, it just gets messy and I need to type it up soon after, otherwise it gets too tangled.)

22You may have seen some posts today around the blogosphere, by lovely people who are writers, about what real writers are. I feel oddly inspired and yelled at all at once. But mostly, overshadowing the inspiration is a large bout of depression. Or… I don’t know if it’s inspired. Maybe it’s defiance, which is not exactly inspiration; makes me want to write, not because I feel “oh, I’m inspired!” but to prove the doubts wrong because it sounds as if they’re saying YOU ARE NOT A WRITER BECAUSE YOU HAVEN’T WRITTEN MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND WORDS SINCE THE YEAR STARTED. AND BECAUSE YOU GET DISTRACTED BY DIFFERENT STORIES. YOU WILL NEVER BE A WRITER.

But the thing is, I don’t have to have all these posts telling me these things. Because I think them all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I think I’m not a writer, I worry, I feel guilty . . . it’s not pretty.

whimsyBecause I HAVEN’T written in awhile. Maybe that means I’m not a writer. Maybe it means I’m really burnt out because I’ve been trying to mold my writing around others’ expectations, which has never worked for me. I have to write what I have to write, and I’ve been trying to avoid that, with disastrous consequences. According to these posts, I don’t believe I’ll ever be a published author, and for those who are reading this and going “but this is a blog about writing, why are you blogging about writing if you’re not going to be an author?” I can only say that I’m tired of saying I’m a writer. Who knows anymore what that means. Everyone says they’re a writer. And they’re all probably right. Because they write. And I, apparently, DON’T.

Maybe I haven’t finished anything in awhile (short stories and novellas evidently don’t count) and maybe I’m distracted by “plot bunnies” and apparently that’s a sin, to have a lot of stories knocking at the door of my brain. And maybe I’ve been focusing too long on trying to put life before writing, because I feel guilty when I ignore my friends or my blog or my work and write instead.

I don’t give myself permission to write, and it’s burning me up because I haven’t written in so long and it’s making me an irritable, depressed person (or… more than usual) because these words inside me need to go somewhere and they haven’t been. These stories want out, all of them, and I’m failing them because I don’t have the discipline to sit down and do it, because my to-do list calls me away. I feel miserable when I don’t write, and I feel miserable when I DO write because I feel guilty for writing instead of doing what everyone else says I should do.

Because if there’s no published book at the end, then why should I be allowed to write? The world will look at me and go “Why are you writing if you aren’t trying to be published?” Well I don’t KNOW if I want to be published, or not; I’m still very confused on that end. All I know is I have stories that want me to tell them — that need me to tell them — and I’ve been abandoning them for human precepts about writing and not writing and I’ve been so burnt out and I just don’t know anymore.

88I’ve never considered myself a “writer” in the sense that many people seem to. I’ve always felt a little bit of an outsider, figuring they’re probably doing it right and that I must somehow not be a normal writer because I’m not like everyone else, somehow. I just write the stories that are in my head.

I don’t study books on “the craft” and I don’t write a certain amount every day — or even every day at all. I write in spurts, like a chapter in a day and then nothing for a week. I’ve tried to do it “by the book” — to write a little bit every day. It only burned me out and made me irritated at my story. I’ve tried to read craft books and posts on writing, on HOW YOU SHOULD WRITE OR ELSE YOU ARE NOT A WRITER, but they always leave a bad taste in my mouth because I feel like I’m being forced to do it someone else’s way, and the stories burning in my head won’t let me do that. They want to be told, and they don’t want to be told HOW to be told.

55The stories in my head are from the Tree of Story, which Tolkien talks about. They’re out there, and they want me to tell them. And no one else can, so I have to. And it’s not like I can just ignore them or make them what I want them to be, or what others say they should be. They’re THERE. Lots of people seem not to understand this.

I can’t be a writer in the way everyone says I should. I have to find my own way. Everyone will say that’s stubborn, but maybe I AM stubborn. They’ll say I’m not willing to put in the hard work to become an author, not willing to swallow my pride and learn what GOOD writing looks like and take criticism. Maybe those are true, I don’t know.

Apparently I’m not really a writer. I’m a storyteller. And I’m not going to apologize for it. I WANT to write. I do. And I will write. I’ve tried to stop, and I can’t — the stories come back and burn and I have to write them. But sometimes I do get burnt out, and the well is dry, and people will tell me that you have to write on even when you can’t, but sometimes you just CAN’T, okay?

All my life, writing’s the only thing that I feel is ME. I have stories to tell and they’re in my heart, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could turn that into something for my life. (That was what that sentimental post about “following your dream” was about. I don’t know if I believe it anymore.) But if I can’t do it by the world’s standards, then what about my life? If you take my writing away from me, or tell me I’m not a writer, or that my stories don’t matter, or that I’m not dedicated enough to write, then I have nothing. I am a storyholder, and without that story, that writing, I am nothing. “Get a life, then. Get a job. Get a hobby. SOMETHING. If a writer is all you are, but you’re not even that, then what good are you?” That’s a very good question. If I don’t become a published writer, then everyone will wonder what on earth I’m doing with my life to be WRITING without a goal in mind. What’s wrong with me? they will ask.

44But my writing is too important to me to do it how everyone else wants me to do it. And I can say that I don’t care what others will think, but it’s not true, because I really am rather timid at heart. I’m Bilbo in an Eagle’s eyrie, lost in a strange and frightening world, not knowing if I’ve just been rescued or if I’m about to be somebody’s breakfast; just wanting to be back home in my hobbit hole with my kettle singing. I just want my little world, without the concerns of wizards or dwarves or dragons or editors or publishers to disturb me. “I miss my books,” he says in the movie. And I do. I miss them. I want to go back to them. Without guilt, without any outside notions invading my mind of amounts of words or whether I’m a failure because I haven’t finished anything in awhile or because I don’t write every day or because I’m apparently not dedicated enough to the “craft” of writing to do what everyone says I should do. I want to go back to my books and love them again. To love them enough to tell them.

“The world is not in your books and maps, it’s out there,” says Gandalf in the movie. Well I don’t care about the world, Gandalf. The world can bloody well stay “out there.” My books and maps are where I want to be. “Then world behind and home ahead, we’ll wander back to home and bed,” the hobbits sing in The Fellowship of the Ring. I’m leaving the world behind and going home. My stories want me. And I want them.

I’m aware this is a rant.

I’m aware it’s an excuse, possibly attempting, vainly, to convince myself that I still AM a writer.

I’m aware that I should positively not post this because I should never ever post things written when I’m upset and doubting myself and doubting everything and have a headache and can’t see through tears and generally am not thinking straight.

33I always pretend, online, that I’m okay. People online — or even people I see in real life outside my own house — think I’m a cheerful sort of person. They think I’m a bit of sunshine, that I’m happy and that I’m always okay. But I’m not always okay. I have doubts and worries and dark clouds just as much as the next person. I just always hate to be THAT PERSON who rants about my troubles online and makes everyone else feel bad. And my troubles are so minuscule compared to many others’, so I feel like it’s selfish to even mention any of them. Because who am I to be sad? How dare I be sad. So I try to be happy online. And it’s usually okay. But sometimes you just CAN’T.

I may not post for awhile. Or exist anywhere. I don’t know. I think I need to figure some stuff out.

I love you guys and I’m so sorry to dump this on you. I know it would be kinder not to.

But I’m just tired of pretending I’m a “writer” and that I’m trying to be what everyone wants me to be.

66I’m so done. I want to be me. I don’t know who that is anymore, but maybe I can find out, someday.

And, oddly enough, I feel rather better now. But it’s not odd, is it? What did I say about those words that need to get out. Writing is a door to the heart, a bridge to the soul. And when the heart and soul are darkened, sometimes the words will be too. But sometimes they will help chase the shadows away.

I may not be a writer by the world’s standards, but (in the elegant words of some British person, I’m sure, whom I can’t recall specifically just now), the world can go boil its head.

My writing is between me and God and my ever-demanding stories, and I don’t have to answer to anyone else for it.

11“Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we my come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.”

–The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

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33 thoughts on “Ink Spill

  1. Deborah, I’m so sorry you’re going through these doubts! You’re wrong that your problems are small and unimportant compared to those of others. Sometimes the mental struggles are the heaviest struggles of all.
    I want you to know that the very thing that inspires me is the freedom with which you write. I’m a rule follower, and I’ve always been, and it was your blog that made me realize it was okay to work on multiple stories at once, to write what is in your heart, to write for yourself. That is what I love about you and your blog so much, and what separates you from the crowd.
    Remember that YOU ARE A WRITER IF YOU WRITE. No matter if you are published or ever want to be, you are a writer simply because there are stories in your head that need to get out.
    Also remember that, in a way, this blog is published writing. There are people reading what you have to say, and enjoying it. Your blog is one of the few that makes me squeal a little with happiness when I see a post in my feed. That in and of itself makes you a writer in my opinion.
    Take a break if you need to. I’ll miss you, but it’ll be okay. But never, ever give up your identity as a writer. Never stop writing the stories in your head.
    Because no matter whether you publish them or not, I will want to read them someday 🙂
    Feel better!! *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Grace. I . . . don’t think I can really express how much this means to me. I’m so glad and amazed I could inspire you, pleased you enjoy my blog, and I thank you very much for your encouraging words. I too have always been a rule follower, which is why it’s confusing in the writing world, because there aren’t, or shouldn’t be, rules… not at first, at lest, for telling a wonderful story. *hugs back* THANK YOU. I haven’t words. This comment really helped me out. 🙂 Thanks very much. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. First off: people who say you’re not a writer because you haven’t written X number of words or you don’t write Y days a week or Z hours per day or because you don’t do this or that or the other thing are lying. What they’re actually saying is that you’re not them, and that’s fine because you’re not supposed to be. You’re supposed to be Deborah O’Carroll, writer and teller of your own stories, and so you are. You’re supposed to be Deborah O’Carroll, who writes in spurts and bursts, who writes about eccentric authors and tortured half-Fae people and chess clubs and mysterious gentlemen in long trenchcoats, who has so many plot bunnies that she’ll still be telling her delightful tales (and, yes, they are delightful!) when she’s ninety-nine years old and has grandchildren and great-grandchildren crowded around her and begging her to please just tell them one more story about Tare and Baz and Ivy or whoever else she’s come up with by then.
    Just because you don’t fit what the published authors are doing doesn’t mean you’re not a writer. It just means you’re different from those authors. Diana Wynne Jones was different from Tolkien and Tolkien was different from C.S. Lewis and C.S. Lewis was different from Anne Elisabeth Stengl and that’s just how it’s meant to be. A writer is one who writes- however much and however often- and there’s no further formula to it.

    Second off: What you said here . . .
    “People online — or even people I see in real life outside my own house — think I’m a cheerful sort of person. They think I’m a bit of sunshine, that I’m happy and that I’m always okay. But I’m not always okay. I have doubts and worries and dark clouds just as much as the next person. I just always hate to be THAT PERSON who rants about my troubles online and makes everyone else feel bad. And my troubles are so minuscule compared to many others’, so I feel like it’s selfish to even mention any of them. Because who am I to be sad? How dare I be sad.”
    I know what you mean. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve struggled with this; I still struggle with it at times. “My problem is my fault. If I were better, stronger, smarter, I wouldn’t have this problem. I only have it because I’m not good enough and so I have no right to bother other people who have real, actual problems that aren’t their fault. And I have no right to be upset because it’s so small compared to those other peoples’ problems. I should be ok and I should be helping that other person through their struggles.”
    I’ve had that mental dialogue before- so many times. And it’s a lie. Because even if your problem is small compared to others’, it can be huge in your life, and that’s the part that matters. And, no, I’m not saying that it’s wrong to keep it to yourself. But I am saying that it’s not wrong to tell others about it too. The body of Christ is meant to support one another- when one part rejoices, the others rejoice with it; when one part mourns, the others mourn with it; when one part is hurting, the others support it. That applies no matter why the one part is hurting, whether the reason is big or small. And so I’m glad that you posted all this- because that means I can try to support you, and I can pray for you (because I’ll definitely be doing that) and if you ever need someone to talk to about anything, big or small, or if you just want prayers and you don’t want to give a reason, my email is always open.

    Love you, and praying for you. ❤
    -Sarah

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey, beautiful girl. Listen to me. I’ve read your writing, and you have talent. More than talent, you have passion and you love what you do. You don’t have to be a published author to be a writer. You don’t even have to want to /be/ published; my post was aimed toward people who /do/ want to be published. I just…listen. You don’t have to write for anyone else. If writing makes you happy, then /do it/. Write. Write with all your heart. Write not because you want to be published, or because you want to change the world, but because it’s part of who you are. You, Deborah Carroll, are a beautiful, skilled, and creative person and it is my /pleasure/ to know you. The last thing, the very last thing, I meant to do was discourage, and I’m so sorry for fanning these doubts. You love writing – so /write/. Being a ‘real’ writer can mean many things, and it’s not the same as being an ‘author’ – I’ve known authors who weren’t real writers, and I’ve known real writers who weren’t real authors. I hope this pours some cold water on these sparks of doubt, but even if it doesn’t, please know – you are worth more than your writer’s block, or the times when you’re burned-out. You are worth more than the guilt you feel, you are worth more than the voice that whispers, ‘how long since you’ve written?’ You are worth so, so much more, and you are loved.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my word, Mirri. I’m crying again. *hugs you tight* Thank you so much. You can’t know how much this meant to me. THANK YOU.

      (I think part of the problem is I DO want to be an “author” someday, but currently I can’t find it in me to do what it takes to make it real, yet. And I hope I didn’t come across as angry at you — if so, I’m very sorry. It was just a lot of things piling up on me that came out in my post, not specifically your post.)

      This comment may mean more to me than anything else I’ve ever read, so thank you for the cold water. It definitely helped the sparks. Thank you so much for taking the time to say this and for your beautiful words of encouragement and light. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I understand exactly how you feel. I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to. I really don’t feel on top of my blog posting either. But you know, it’s nice to have someone else who feels the same way! You should never feel obligated to be something someone else wants you to be. That happens too much in this world.

    And we all have different writing styles. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. I sometimes write in huge chunks, then don’t write for *months*…So don’t feel like you’re so odd. You’re a great writer, storyteller, blogger, whatever you want to call yourself. And I’m so glad I’ve gotten to know you better. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Deb you darling, I apologize if I at all made you feel that you’re not ‘doing it right’ when it comes to writing. All I was doing in my post was making a distinction between writers and authors. I wasn’t trying to discourage anyone from writing, I wasn’t insisting that if you don’t follow the rules of writing/authoring that you should stop writing. Write your heart and soul and mind out, Flori, and do it YOUR way.

    I was not saying writers have to be authors, nor was I saying that people who are writers vs authors should not be writing. I was also not saying that anyone who is a writer will never be an author. I’m not saying that AT ALL. I actively encourage people to write. We were just pointing out the difference between the two terms/professions. There is absolutely nothing ‘wrong’ with being a writer.

    Thing is, there /are/ no rules one has to follow if one is a writer. If you are an author looking to be published, then yes, there are a few rules you have to follow- that’s what we were pointing out. But writing because there are stories that have to come out? WRITE THEM. So if you write in fits and spurts that’s FINE. You’re still a writer. If you haven’t written for six months or a year but still have stories waiting for you to sit and tell them, you’re still a writer. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH NOT BEING AN AUTHOR. I don’t look down on you for it, I don’t consider you less, I was not discouraging or condemning you in any way.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you also!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, Lody. *hugs tight* It wasn’t you, just everything piling up. I hope I didn’t come across as attacking you or your post! I didn’t mean that at all. Thank you for your kind words, you lovely person! ❤ I still want to be an author, someday, I just don't know if I'll be able to… but right now, being a writer will be enough, hopefully. 🙂 THANK YOU. I can't say thank you enough for this. ^_^

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  6. First of all {HUGS}

    Second of all, do it your way. Be a storyteller. If stories well up within your soul and need to pour out onto pages… let them. You are a writer if you have a deep, visceral need to WRITE whether or not what you write ever sees the light of day (and this post makes it sound like you do). Writer is a part of who you are. It doesn’t need an audience… it doesn’t follow a schedule or “rules” it just is.

    “Author of Published Books” … well, that’s the part that takes a lot more work – that’s the part of writing that demands an audience and sometimes comes with negative feedback. And you don’t have to be that. And you don’t have to know right now whether or not you want to be one, either. And you never have to be one if you don’t want to… and that doesn’t mean that you should stop writing or telling stories!!!

    And third, know that you are not alone. I have — and even currently am — struggling with many of these same exact thoughts, doubts, worries, guilt, and wondering. I don’t sit down and write at the same time every day (I don’t even write every day… or every other day). I have three small children who demand my attention and I feel guilty for spending time away from them to write (even when that time is during their collective quiet time… because I ought to be figuring out supper or vacuuming or something useful, right?) and when I don’t take the time to write, I feel guilty because I have these stories that need to be told, that beg me to write them, to polish them, to share them… and I have people counting on me to bring those stories to completion (which is odd, in and of itself). And sometimes I have so many stories spinning around in my head that I think I might go crazy trying to figure out how to get it all written down when it takes me SO LONG to get everything done and I have so LITTLE time to actually spend on writing… and sometimes I squander that little time because I just need to sack out in front of Doctor Who instead.

    I don’t have all the answers… I don’t even have most of the answers. But if stories well up within your soul and beg you to tell them… then embrace the title of “Writer” or “Storyteller.” Own it. Wear it with pride. And know that it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s writing style or schedule… and it really shouldn’t, because then it wouldn’t be YOURS. And part of what makes your stories beautiful is because they are so uniquely yours.

    I dunno. I hope that helps… maybe a little.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Jenelle! You always encourage me so much. ❤ *hugs back*

      I think part of it is that I want to be an "Author of Published Books" but don't know if I'm willing to do what it takes to get there at this point…

      I'm sorry you're struggling with much the same things, but I know you are an amazing writer and I so admire you for getting ANY writing done with three small children and all. You're awesome. 🙂

      Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. ❤

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  7. I’m popping out of the woodwork (or whatever the online equivalent may be) again because I kept agreeing with this post. Especially this part: “[The stories are] out there, and they want me to tell them. And no one else can, so I have to. And it’s not like I can just ignore them or make them what I want them to be, or what others say they should be. They’re THERE. Lots of people seem not to understand this.”
    I have a story, a huge sprawling thing that started two years ago, with little plot and less pacing, written over a long time that saw me growing a lot as a writer, and so the writing style changes a lot from the first chapter to the last. I did way too much telling and not enough showing in, oh, the first two-thirds of the thing. Explanations, and hitting people with morality tales, take up far more room than the fun parts and the conversations (which categories overlap a lot). Once, I had hope of getting it published. Now that I’ve read more widely and I know more of what makes good writing good, I don’t think it will have that chance unless I change it a lot. But the thing is, I can’t change it much. What I wrote, good or bad, is what happened. I can’t change what happened even in a fictional story just to please people who don’t know my people as well as I do.
    I’ve been in writing ruts where I haven’t written anything, or even wanted to write anything, for upwards of a week (and I mean anything, including e-mails). There have been times where I couldn’t write and didn’t care that I couldn’t write, and even stopped feeling bad that I didn’t care. There have been times when everything makes me sink lower into that lie that “I am not a writer.”
    I said it is a lie. A writer is one who writes — not “A writer is one who writes every day” or “one who writes a minimum of 2,000 words per week”. You love words? You love characters? You have made friends with people who don’t technically exist, of whose being no one but yourself and God are aware of in this world? Words like hiraeth, cobweb, autumn, North, adamant, sanguine, anything with the element “crux” — and hosts of others I can’t think of at this moment — make you wake up, or lift your head, or catch a fleeting mind-picture of mountains or eagles? You even write down these visions, or snatches of conversation you hear spoken inside your head? That, I think, is what it is to be a writer.
    I’ve written a story, one with even less plot to its name than my other example can boast of, whose characters I love deeply. It’s preachy in spots, in others I’m hopelessly melodramatic. I started without knowing my point-of-view character very well; the other main character, the one she interacted with, was the real Main Character. In the blindness of first love I sent it to a beta-reader. She pointed out all the flaws, very kindly, but from the day I received her comments my first trust in it was lost. Now every time I get a new idea for it, Doubt plagues me, and I end up doing nothing. Often I’ve struggled over it, wondering, Am I a writer if I can’t conquer even this?
    Go on. You may very well look back on this post a year form now, maybe only a week from now — maybe as soon as you posted it you began to regret it and wonder if maybe you shouldn’t have put your feelings out here like this, if maybe things aren’t that bad. We all go through times like this. Life isn’t a flat road.

    I haven’t read any of the other comments yet, so if I’ve repeated anybody, or given you counsel the exact opposite of somebody else’s, it wasn’t to copy or to contradict.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you came out of the woodwork — thanks very much for this comment and sharing your own writing story with me! I’m glad I’m not alone, and it’s always nice to hear when others agree! You’re right, it did HAPPEN that way, and while I can sometimes manage to make it better or rewrite it with better words while keeping the main story the same… I can’t really drastically change what HAPPENED just for someone else. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, I appreciate it SO much! ❤ And those are some great words like adamant etc…. and the way you expressed this so beautifully shows me you have a way with words. I hope you will continue with your writing in the same way. ^_^

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  8. Deborah – I feel like we very much alike. I haven’t really read any book on writing. I read the occasional blog post, I don’t write every day. I write when I feel like it and however much I want to do. (And whenever I have five minutes to procrastinate from school.) So you do you. 🙂

    I read the blog posts too, and came away with mixed feelings about the messages. I feel like if you have a story you think needs writing, then write that sucker! It doesn’t matter if no one sees it or it never gets published, what matters is that you write. It’s something you’ve created! I get scared every time I think about publishing. I never think my stories are good enough, but if you’re willing to keep trying, then you’re bound to improve. And you’re willing to put yourself out there with this blog. So I guess what I’m saying is, take everything with a grain of salt. Don’t take it to heart. And seriously, from what little I’ve read on here of your stories, they sound completely awesome and I would definitely love to read them all!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I relate to this so much. I have had a rough writing year, or maybe a couple of years. I don’t write all the time either. I chase plot bunnies and start new books when I really shouldn’t. All that doesn’t matter, all that matters is our love of words and creating. Don’t ever let someone tell you that you have to do things a certain way. You bloody well do not. Don’t let anyone discourage you!

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  10. Aww I’m sorry you’re back is still making it hard for you. 😦 I hope that gets better soon! I’m mentally applauding you right now. It takes a lot of courage to own up on the interenet that things in life aren’t always sunshine. Sometimes it’s rainy and that’s okay. Because the sun will come out again. If writing makes you happy then always keep writing. I always enjoy reading your posts about your stories. You have a fantastic imagination!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I just want to give you a ginormous hug!

    This was so brave of you. I totally pretend everything is all rainbows and sunshine on the internet as well, which is silly, because we appreciate people being real. I certainly do. I always enjoy the blogs where the person talks about REAL life and REAL struggles and doesn’t even try to pretend to be perfect. Because none of us are. None of us have perfect lives. And sometimes we need to remember that. When everyone around you seems to have it all together, it’s even more discouraging. So THANK YOU for being real and being brave and being you. I think it’s beautiful.

    All that said, though, I am SO sorry you’re struggling with this. But let me tell you right now, you ARE a writer and will always, always be one. Like I said in my last post, being published has absolutely nothing to do with being a writer. And following the “rules” or writing a certain amount or any of that also has absolutely and completely NOTHING with being a writer. YOU are a writer because you love it, because you do have all these stories that demand to be written. There ARE no rules to being a writer. You’re a writer because you’ve written and because you want to write. Because you NEED to write. Even if one hasn’t written in 5 years, that doesn’t suddenly strip that title from them. I believe writers are born. We’re born with ink in our blood, and no matter what we do or don’t do has nothing to do with it. We just ARE. Stories stir us. They form in our heads and burn our fingers. It’s part of our very being, no matter how much we actually pen tales.

    Publishing is NOT the defining thing of being a writer. I mean, artists don’t have to have their drawings in a museum to be “real” artists. The majority of people who draw do it purely for the fun of it. They draw when they want, and don’t draw when they don’t want, but they’re still artists. They still create and enjoy it. Why would writing be different? We should just write when we feel like it. We have no obligation to put our writing in “museums” aka publishing. It’s what we love. Some want to pursue publishing, some self-publishing, some just to share with friends and family, and some just for themselves because they love it. ALL those people are writers, what they do with their writing has nothing to do with who they are.

    You should never, ever, EVER feel guilty about writing or not writing. Or feel like you have to share it or do something with it. Writing is a beautiful thing, but it can be draining. So do it when YOU want. You have no obligation to it, but it’s also not a waste of your time when you do it, even if you just keep it to yourself. I have some stories I’ll NEVER let a single soul read. They’re mine. But do I feel like I wasted all that time writing them? Nope. Not at all. I’ve learned. Not just writing, but life. Every time I write I learn something new about life, about people, even about God. I feel productive and more equipped for this messy, crazy, confusing life, even if I never share that bit of writing with a single soul.

    Writing is a beautiful thing, that has no obligations to it should you choose it not to. You are a writer and will always, always be a writer. Even if you go ten years without penning a single sentence. Writing is in your blood. Like you said, you have stories that need telling and only YOU can tell them. So write them! Enjoy them. Love them. There is no right or wrong to being a writer. I think I’d die if I tried to write every single day. I’ve never done that and I’m pretty positive I never will. But I’m still a writer. A lot of people only ever write during NaNo and no other time of the year. But they’re still writers. EVERY writer does it differently. And that’s okay. It’s more than okay, it’s awesome! I love how we all have different systems and goals.

    And good gracious, this is getting long. o.o All that to say, you ARE a writer and always will be a writer, no matter what you do. Take a break, we ALL need breaks. That whole “just sit down and write no matter how tired you are” advice you see everywhere is not always true. Like you said, sometimes we just can’t. So take one as long as you need. But please don’t feel guilty about it. Write when you want, don’t when you don’t feel like it. Just live and breathe and be you.

    You’re an AMAZING writer, Celti. I adore everything I’ve ever read from you. Your love for your stories shine through those pages. So just keep writing because you love it, and never for any other reason. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gaaah, Lauri. ❤ *hugs you* I don't know what to do with how wonderful you are, how you encourage me. Thank you SO SO SO MUCH. <33333333 I don't know what to say to all of this amazingness of advice you've written but I love every word of it and just… thank you. You are the best and words cannot express that from me. THANK YOU. ^____^ *HUGS*

      Like

  12. Aw, Deborah … I hear you! I never was one to follow the “rules of writing”, read books on plot structure, or anything like that. I write in spurts also … going for months without writing much of anything. I have a hundred unfinished stories. I feel the pressure to please people and write my book “the right way”. It’s SO hard sometimes. I feel so pressured that I decide to stop writing altogether and watch hours of a fantastic tv show instead because I want to forget that I’m “failing”.

    You, my beautiful friend, are a writer because you have those stories in your head. And don’t listen to everyone and their rules and certain ways of doing things, because it’s just stressing you! Write when you really, really want to! Otherwise just live life, love your family and friends, read some books. Maybe you do just need a big break. I’ve had a lot of those, and I come out feeling better and able to write once again.

    Writing styles and whatnot have changed and changed again through the years. I honestly don’t think there’s a CERTAIN way. There’s good tips out there, but even those are not always for everyone. I’ve read books that the “professionals” would say are just not right. But I LOVED the book. And I’ve read a lot of books … bestsellers, traditional published, indie published. So who’s to say if it’s a good book or not?

    I learn a little more each time I write, I think, that I need to just write with all my heart and realize God is the one I want to glorify. So if my stories are from my heart and honoring to my Lord, I write in peace.

    It’s still an emotional struggle. But we just take one day at a time. Being a writer is not our identity, but just a part of you. Being in Christ is our identity. But if you love to write, then simply enjoy the gift He has given you! ^_^ I’m trying to speak to myself here too. I hope that makes sense.

    Praying you’re overflowed with His Love, Joy, and Peace, Deborah!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Shantelle! 🙂 I hope you are listening to yourself too, because those are some wonderful, very true words. ❤ It is hard sometimes, but yes, you're absolutely right. 🙂 (And for the record, your stories are AMAZING.) Thank you, you lovely person! ^_^

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  13. Wow. Tracey had mentioned this post to me today, so I figured I would check it out. To tell you the truth, it feels like it’s been pulled straight from a secret diary. It’s *raw*.

    Is that a bad thing? No. In fact, I’d almost say it’s a wake-up call… for me, anyway. It’s a giant slap in the face, reminding me that there are others out there who struggle and aren’t “perfect writers” just yet. But don’t worry, it’s a good slap.

    I won’t pretend to have struggled and dealt with this EXACT same thing. I will say that I have struggled with similar things. There’ve been times where I’ve gone weeks (even months!) on end where I don’t write. And then I’ve wondered if there’s worth in my writing. But this isn’t about me.

    First off, let me say that I LOVE your writing. “What?” you ask. “When have you read my stuff? We hardly even know each other.” I’ll grant you that, but it’s beside the point. The point is, I have read your stuff. It was one blog post, six months ago. You may recall your Blogoversary Shenanigans post. That’s what I read.

    And I absolutely *loved* it! So there, at least one person does. And I know there are others who do too, judging by the comments. So don’t you DARE agree with those voices that tell you you’re not a good writer. Say, “Heck, no. I’m a GREAT writer, because I LOVE what I do.” When you love your work, others will feel that love and enjoy it even more.

    We are to do things as though we were doing it for God, not for man. Know what that means? DON’T CONFORM TO WHAT OTHERS SAY A WRITER SHOULD BE, OR WHAT A WRITER SHOULD DO, OR HOW A WRITER SHOULD ACT. God’s opinion is far more important than anyone else’s. And you know what He says? He grins, points to you, and says, “See Deborah? She’s a beautiful storyteller who uses the talents I’ve given and loves doing it. That’s one of many reasons why I treasure her.” With God on your side, who can stand against you?

    You were created to be YOU. When God makes people, He doesn’t use the same formula each time. Everyone was not created to be like everyone else. That picture you had in your post, with the birds on the wires? Even before I read the words on it, my eyes instantly went to that one bird.

    You, Deb, are that one bird. You have been set apart by the Most High. You are valued, and you are gifted. Write what’s on your heart WHEN it’s on your heart. God has a perfect timeline set out for you. If it takes a while for you to return, guess what? It’s okay. Take a step back, inhale deeply… and rest. Sometimes we just need to do that. Rest so we can be strengthened for tomorrow.

    Well, this is becoming a bit of a monster comment (which seems to be typical for me), so I’ll just end it off with links to two songs I hope you find encouraging. (There’s a lot of encouraging songs bubbling up within me, so if you want more, just say the word.) One song is about not being a slave to fear. Don’t be held captive by nagging voices in your mind. Know whose you are, and let Him rekindle the fire inside.

    The second is about God’s love for you. This *technically* doesn’t apply to the post, but I just feel like it’s something you need to hear. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, Josiah. I just have to say, thanks so much for this comment. 🙂

      I hope you know there’s worth in your writing too. I don’t think any writers ever “make it” and become “perfect” so I think we’re all in it together. 😉 I’m so glad you liked the blogoversary post (I still remember your awesome comments on it, which made my day!). Thanks for the great reminder about being God’s, and for the music links, which I will listen to as soon as I find a chance!

      It may be a “monster comment” but it’s one of the most amazing ones I’ve had (and I love long comments anyway. ;)) so thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts! I’m sorry if my post was a “slap” even in a good way and I hope it had some good effect on you too. 🙂

      Thanks, and keep writing!

      Like

      • You’re most welcome. 🙂

        I think I’ve always known it, but it’s hard to believe it in moments of doubt. But thank you! No, we’re all in the same boat, in some form or another. You still remember those? Wow! 😀 You’re welcome again. Take your time, there’s no rush. 😉

        Really? That’s saying something, because you got a lot of great comments. Don’t apologize! I needed a reminder that I’m not the only struggling writer, and I think it’s good to have a real post like this rather than just fluff. So yes, there was a good effect.

        Same to you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh where to start – how about – as someone who has struggled with moderate to severe depression for years, I admire your decision to be vulnerable and honest. It’s not complaining – it’s brave and humble.

    “I always pretend, online, that I’m okay. People online — or even people I see in real life outside my own house — think I’m a cheerful sort of person. They think I’m a bit of sunshine, that I’m happy and that I’m always okay. But I’m not always okay.”

    I think most people experience this^^ from time to time. Even the “sunniest” personality has their days. I have had mornings at work where I just couldn’t repress tears (I rarely cry, so this is a really big lapse for me), and I had to survive a day completely made of customer service. At the end, I just wanted to sleep for the rest of my life. Online, people don’t have to see your face. This can be freeing, but it can also be like a mask – a way to hide the truth, or smudge it a little. I’m not saying we’re all lying online – just that it’s easier to be the *best,* most cheerful and positive versions of ourselves when we’re – you guessed it – WRITING. For me, writing has always been a release. It calms me and helps me think, and it’s necessary to my mental and physical health. And by the way, if you write, you’re a writer. If you’ve ever hit the “publish” button on a post, you’re “technically,” published. You have readers, you have a platform. And more importantly, you have friends who “get it.”

    I may have a book coming out (uhm, soon?), but I am always wracked by worries that it isn’t “good enough.” Sometimes I freak out just hitting the “post” button on my blog. And I have days where I want to burn my computer because “nothing is good enough.” When I see what other talented people around my age have accomplished, I’m tempted to quit altogether. I suspect that even NYT bestselling authors have these problems.

    “Apparently I’m not really a writer. I’m a storyteller. And I’m not going to apologize for it. I WANT to write. I do. And I will write. I’ve tried to stop, and I can’t — the stories come back and burn and I have to write them. But sometimes I do get burnt out, and the well is dry, and people will tell me that you have to write on even when you can’t, but sometimes you just CAN’T, okay?”

    Ultimately, if you are writing because you need to, because you love to, because you have a story to tell, then yes, let the world go “boil their heads.” Because it’s none of their business, either way.
    ❤ R @ Wordsmithing and Worldbuilding/rlhendrian.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • *hugs you* I’m sorry you have had such struggles, and thanks so much for this lovely encouraging comment — it made my day. ❤ And you're totally right: writing is a great outlet and thus I DO usually feel better just from writing. I wish you the best (so excited about your book too!!) and hope that you'll have less doubts too. I guess we all go through these, and just have to keep writing! 🙂
      THANK YOU, REBEKAH. *HUGS* ❤ ❤ ❤
      *sees you have a new website and squeals and goes to investigate*

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