The Danger of Writing

6:00 AM

It goes like this:

You wake up, ready for a brand new day. In the back of your mind, you chant to yourself, I need to write today, at least 100 words. You think on this as you get up, eat breakfast, drive to work.

Need to write, need to write. 


You go through your shift at work, thinking about how you need to write at some point. You get home and do some chores. You make dinner. You spend time with your family.


Need to write, need to write. 


By the time you're in your room by yourself, it's 1 am. You have to be up for work the next day, so you really should get to bed soon. But you haven't written. You endured the chant, but it did nothing for you.


You failed.

The next day, you don't work till the afternoon. So you get up and write first thing. You write the hours away, tearing through 40 pages of edits.

I'm writing! Yay!


You go to work, and while at work you find yourself wondering how the next scene will play out. And you also find yourself wondering when you will get a chance to write next.


Need to write, need to write. 


The chant is still there as you leave work and drive home. Even though you've made plans to write before work the next morning, you still feel that need, that drive, that urgency. You look at your word count for the day--7k! But the chant doesn't leave your mind.


That poses the question, the unanswerable question: When will you ever have written enough?


If this sounded personal, that's because it was. This has essentially been this past week for me. I've managed to edit pretty much every day (the Go Teen Writers 100/4/100 contest is great motivation) and it's been really great. I've had a very productive week.

But the chant? Hasn't left.

When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about how I should be writing. Even now, while writing this blog post, my thoughts are swirling and asking, Shouldn't you be editing your book? Doesn't that need your attention more than your blog? 

It challenges, which matters more to you? Which do you care about? 

But I've realized today (cause I've been doing a lot of thinking today) that this is not really the question I need to be asking.

Because writing, reading, blogging, having some semblance of a social life, cleaning, exercising--those things all matter to me. Some may matter a bit more than others, but they are all important.

When I do one instead of the other, that does not negate their significance.

Me sitting down to read a book does not mean that book is more important than my own writing and editing. Me writing and editing on my project does not make that project more important than my family.

But.

There is a danger here. If we let ourselves give into this chant, need to write, need to write, and don't monitor it, it will never be enough. Because there is always more to write. There will always be another story idea, another book, another draft. There will always be more. You can never write "enough."

So boundaries are vital. 

I edited 7k today. It was tempting to listen to the chant instead of my own logic, but when I tucked away the need to write with a scoff because I'd already done that I realized that this meant I could budget in other things. I had time to read since I'd already well surpassed my word count. I had time to write this blog post this evening.

I had heeded the chant, and thus was able to allow myself to do other things without letting the chant continue to haunt me.

Though the need to write has still been calling, I've reprimanded it. Because, guys, we have to remember that writing doesn't own us. Writing is important and beautiful and amazing, but it cannot dominate every waking moment of our lives. We cannot follow so closely in its footsteps that we are forever in its shadow, unable to break away from the path it's carved.

We have to take ownership of our lives. We have to prioritize.

And that starts with recognizing what "enough" really looks like.

Maybe 100 words is enough. Heck, maybe 50 words is enough. Maybe you've got a goal you're really set on, and so you need 1k a day to make it. 1k is your goal.

But when you reach that goal, you have to give yourself permission to put the writing down. Even if you still have time to write more, that doesn't always mean you should. Because if you fill every spare moment you can with writing, you'll find other important things in your life slipping through those cracks. Reading, communication, life. That will pass you by, and you won't even see because your eyes are glued to your computer screen.

Be aware of what you do with your time. We only have so much of it, and we have to make it count.


Do you struggle with time management? Do you constantly feel the need to write? When do you feel like you've written enough? 


<3

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