I did some thinking and asked myself how I’d come to a place of not wanting to write stories for the past two years. Were there things I could have done differently? Well, I found three—three things I shouldn’t have done from the start.
1. Sacrifice joy
As much as perseverance is important in honing your craft, so is joy. For many years, I believed that consistency was the key to success, and yes, it did lead to some important milestones in my authoring journey. But, consistency shouldn’t rob me of the joy in creating. If I hadn’t forced myself to be consistent, even when I was creatively drained, I wouldn’t have dreaded the thought and act of writing. I wouldn’t have lost my passion for writing.
2. Set arbitrary goals
When I started writing, I told myself to complete ten titles before I turned thirty. The reason? None. It was ‘just because’. And even though I was called prolific during the years where I kept releasing novels and novellas almost on a yearly basis, I began feeling the pressure to deliver a promise I’d made to myself on a whim. It may have come from an ambitious place, but it wasn’t worth the feeling of being not-good-enough when I couldn’t accomplish my goal. And, guess what? I had only written nine titles when I turned thirty, three years ago—I haven’t written another title since.
3. Write for the millions
There’s nothing wrong in wishing to be read by millions—one should dream and dream big. But the goal of being read by many shouldn’t distract you from creating. In the past years, I had been pitching my novel, Whispers of the Wind, in hopes of having it traditionally published for wider distribution. And while I was pitching, I decided to put writing on hold because I didn’t see the point of creating when I’d yet to sell my current novel. I stopped writing for the possibility of a million readers, when I should’ve kept writing for the one. Today, I’ve decided to write for the one, because one reader is worth writing for.
These three lessons have certainly changed the way I view my passion for writing and storytelling. And I hope, if you’re in this same journey, that my past experiences are helpful to you, too. After all, passions are hard to come by, and we wouldn’t want to lose them at the risk of never finding them again.