How to Keep Writing
Even when you feel like giving up.
There are days when I don't feel like writing at all.
Days when the dream seems impossible, and putting one foot in front of the other - writing when I wonder if I'll ever be able to earn a living from my craft and I've gotten carried away with the words in the comment section - is painstaking.
On those days, I have to remember why I started in the first place.
I started writing because I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings with the world and have the freedom to explore my creativity with others.
I write to inspire, seduce, charm, terrify, inform, and entertain, depending on the genre.
Music was once my passion: I thought that's what I would do for a living before I realized that I was ultimately more inspired by the lyrics than the melodies, and I turned to attempting the task of mastering the intricacies of the English language so that my words would provoke feelings in others.
Feelings that made them laugh or cry.
Feelings that made them fall in love or picture a villain in their minds for all hours of the night.
I write to navigate my own emotions, entertain others, and help them navigate theirs.
No matter how cruel this world may be at times, I must remember my why.
I must keep going, even if I feel like giving up.
Even if I feel like the tides of destiny are against me.
Even if I feel like this dream is taking too long to come to fruition.
Even if I don't earn a sufficient income from my work immediately and I have to supplement it.
I refuse to give up.
1. Remember Your Why
Why did you start writing in the first place? Do you love getting lost in a story of wolves, wizards, and warlocks, or being swept off of your feet in Paris, France?
Do you love the way you sit on your couch, curled up with a warm cup of tea, getting lost in the actions of your favorite novel's characters?
Do words by the likes of Tony Robbins, Mark Manson, and Tim Denning set your soul on fire?
Whatever the reason was that you started, remember that when times get tough.
I bet it probably wasn't just about the money: You probably wanted to entertain, inform, or uplift.
If you keep this in mind, you'll likely find it easier to keep going.
2. Write for Yourself
Sometimes, the pressure of writing for other people can weigh you down: You might feel as though you're wrestling with a muse who was once a free soul, wearing flowing skirts and dancing to African drums, only to discover that she's now decided to don a suit and tie and refuses to go anywhere without a full face of makeup.
Yes, she's being ridiculous, but the pressure-cooker of peer pressure and societal expectations will do that to a person, not to mention your muse.
Perhaps journaling for a few hours or so will light that spark underneath you and inspire you to keep chipping away at the dream.
Sometimes, being able to divulge your deepest secrets without the stare of curious eyes can be liberating.
Who knows? You might even come up with the idea for your next novel!
3. Be Kind to Yourself
If you're like me, you can be extremely hard on yourself.
Writers - and artists in general for that matter! - are notorious for suffering from waves of crippling self-doubt followed by tides of extreme narcissism. That's why it can be difficult for many of us to maintain relationships with others, and even with ourselves sometimes.
Perhaps the most tumultuous relationship of all is the one we have with our craft: The resentment, the love, the passion, and the hatred all melt into one, creating a fiasco that either becomes a fiasco or a masterpiece.
Sometimes it's both: Its reception depends on the viewer.
4. Consume Inspiring Content
There are days when I wake up and I literally feel as though I am staring at a blank canvas, paint brush in hand, with absolutely no idea what to splash on it.
Sometimes, I'm suffering from a creative block: There seems to be nothing left in the well of ideas.
That's when I consume inspiring content.
After hours of drudgery, something enters the doors of my mind, and a feeling of relief washes over me.
Sometimes, I get an idea from listening to a certain song or watching a particularly fantastic Netflix series.
Other times, ideas spring from reading articles by the likes of Tim Denning Zulie Rane, and Ayodechi Awosika.
The other issue is that nothing is going to be perfect: Nothing is ever going to meet my inordinately high expectations.
Nothing is going to be what I need it to be.
I have to wait until the piece is flawlessly extraordinary.
I tell myself.
That's when I will listen to a few inspiring speeches before simply writing something.
I usually feel comfortable publishing the article after a few rounds of editing.
Garnering inspiration from books, articles, videos - or any creative medium really - has also been extremely helpful for me as a wordsmith.
5. Make Some Time for Self-Care
On dreary nights spent wandering the streets, deciding what exactly I would like to write about, if anything, I sometimes realize that perhaps the most effective solution to my creative block is simply a healthy meal and a good night's sleep.
I need my sleep.
I cannot work nights.
I've tried, and I'm incredibly sensitive to this sacrifice, so I've had to find ways to make the most of each day by maximizing my time and energy.
Perhaps your brand of self-care is different than mine, but ensuring that you are well-rested, well-fed, and generally healthy almost always helps people recover from burnout and have more energy to tackle their creative commitments head-on.
The Takeaway: Being a content creator is hard, even on the best of days. If you find yourself struggling to give up, you might want to implement these strategies. Arguably, the most important one is remembering why you started pursuing this writing journey in the first place, and sticking to your mission!