Well. It’s been some time.
Writing blog posts became an easy way for me to be productive. If I was feeling creative in some way, I could sit down in a coffee shop somewhere, get my laptop out and join a club of frantically typing, headphone wearing, serious thinkers who congregated to drink flat whites and stare at word documents. I would write for solid chunks of time, unleashing whatever was on my mind on to the screen and then read over it quickly, rushing towards the gratification of pressing publish. Suddenly something I’d made was out in the world for people to read if they so wished with not a great deal of effort from me.
It helped that if I posted something good, then I’d get praise and compliments from people I know. I am someone who, no matter how hard I try not to, values the opinions of others too much. It felt really good to hear that a) people were reading my stuff in the first place and b) that they were enjoying it. One person even said that my openness about my experience of anxiety was helpful to them which was probably the best thing I’ve been told about anything I’ve done, ever.
But blog posts were not fulfilling, as pretentious and up myself that sounds. I got to the point of opening a draft and having no motivation to write anything, knowing that it wasn’t going anywhere anyway. I beat myself up because I wasn’t working on a novel, I didn’t have any side projects, I wasn’t creating anything. All I was doing was writing the odd post and not much else. I told myself this was because any time I had, I was drifting towards the ‘easy’ thing: writing short posts instead of committing to a longer, more difficult project that wouldn’t have the same instant gratification.
I would love to say that I’ve taken a break from writing blog posts in order to work on something bigger and that my debut novel is out next year, but it’s not. Quite honestly, these last six months have been spent trying to figure out what I want to do with my time outside of my full-time job and I’ve struggled to commit to any one thing. I went to a short story class for ten weeks, have written poetry and read a LOT. I’ve tried loads of things and nothing’s stuck. I’m not working on my magnum opus all the time but still switching between tabs and word documents, working on something until my mind drifts and I choose to work on something else.
That’s how it’s always been and I think I just need to be okay with that for a while. I have to have faith that at some point a project will develop towards which I’ll want to direct all of my attention. It’s okay not to have that one big idea yet. It’ll come. And even if it doesn’t, I’m quite happy to work on lots of things at once and embrace the sporadic nature of it.
The irony of this blog post is that I’m writing it to put off doing anything else.