Me — My Two Problems

From all of the advice I’ve ever been given by professors, blogs, famous authors, and every other person, being a writer is all about hard work. We’re told that if we sit down and just write we’ll get there eventually, pretty much no matter what even. But I think that sometimes its really hard to stay focused on that. It could just be a matter of “some days will just inherently be gloomier” but often times, especially lately, it seems that I have my sights on something far beyond my capabilities. Let me explain.

It’s taken a lot of personal struggle to even get to where I am now. Several unsuccessful attempts to get into the habit of reading and/or writing every day. I’ve had my sights on becoming a writer for probably around seven years now. I could probably list off ninety percent of the books I’ve physically read from that far back. Not from lack of memory, but from lack of content. The only time I’ve read was from necessity, and that has changed only very, very recently. In fact, I still only read on average about fifteen pages a day, which I realize is pathetic. (Cut me some slack here, though, I’m currently reading Lord of the Rings, which I consider literature rather than fantasy at this point. The writing is archaic.) I write every day, too, and that’s probably my single greatest accomplishment of the past year or two. These are commendable achievements, and I won’t strip myself of that, but the amount of effort I’m putting into these things is minimal at best.

I actually don’t understand how an author can sit down and simply write for hours upon hours. I’ve worked eight hour shifts, and that concept isn’t foreign to me. But I struggle to write two thousand word chapters as it is, and I only force myself to do that once a week! Heck, even the past several weeks the chapters I’ve been writing haven’t even been that long. Admittedly its because the project I’ve been working on has lost my favor, and it’s not very fun for me anymore, but the concept of writing for fun has always been foreign to me. At best I’ll have a great idea for a short story, but I won’t really enjoy sitting down and writing it, I’ll enjoy the prospect of being able to show it to other people when I’m done. That’s what keeps me going. Literally nothing I’m working on now even has that quality to it. I don’t want anyone to read Dreamscape because its so bad at this point and I’m not actively trying to change it. At this point I’m just writing to finish it.

At its core, this is the issue I’ve struggled with my entire career. I don’t want to write, I want to have written. Does that mean I’ve chosen the wrong career? Is there a better way for me to get my world to other minds? Probably, but that’s a tangent and a half, so I won’t get into it here. The conclusion I’ve made is that if I just keep writing, eventually I’ll get somewhere. But that day hasn’t come. I try to understand why I don’t even like the results of seemingly good ideas, but the project I pick up afterwards with the previous issues in mind is never any better.

I’m currently trying to plot my next novel. Right now, though, there’s a huge hole where my main plot goes. I have characters and setting, and I need the rope to tie everything together. I cannot start writing without finding that rope, and I am legitimately terrified of settling for silly string when I want to just jump in. But I’m also terrified of stalling for fear that I’ve been putting off writing too long.

I want to be more than I am, but I’ve fixed all the holes that I knew how to fix. Now I have to turn my attention to the two gaping holes that have been looming behind me all this time: learning to have fun writing for extended periods of time, and learning how to plot out a proper story structure that will hold up when words are put to the page. The problem is that I don’t even know what’s wrong. The first step for finding the solution is identifying the problem. Well, problem identified me. What’s next? I don’t know.

I can take solace in the fact that I’m only eighteen, but at the same time that singular fact doesn’t help me down my path. It just makes me realize how much longer that path really is.

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