One of the reasons that the SFU Writer’s Studio emphasizes community is that without like-minded individuals around to talk with, to share writing or poetry with, to give and receive feedback from, not only does inspiration and creativity get put on the back burner, but your writing and whatever it is that you’re working on begins to feel less real.
The gremlins of doubt begin to get louder. Poser. Wannabe. And, it’s a good idea to have a preemptive plan of attack or a little mind game on hand. It works for mental health. It works for creativity.
So, in the past year, I’ve made the conscious decision that it’s really best not to question what I’m doing when it comes to my writing as long as I am doing it and still feel engaged, otherwise, I might question the project right out of existence.
If it matters and I’m still getting something out of what I’m working on, and I’m still inspired to grapple with the questions that come up around parts of the manuscript, and I am able to more clearly see a finish line, then I’m just going to keep going because it’s now a personal commitment, the same way, I imagine, a runner has in adding to the number of kilometers they aspire to and think about meeting that goal as well.
I see no point in questioning that I’m sitting in a room writing about things that matter to me, but may not matter one bit to anyone else, or the entire project will seem irrelevant. And when the reward is in the doing, who gets to make that decision?
And, you know, I just want all the writers out there to ask themselves this:
What’s everyone else doing that’s really life and death important? Honestly? Have you ever thought about that? The percentage of people who spend their lives working on something that will be life-changing for others or add to their enjoyment in as great a way as a really successful artistic venture can bring joy to audiences (even if just through the eyes of one reader on a page) is actually limited to a relatively small number of people worldwide.
But comparison isn’t necessary or advised.
If you really want to write, you will. If not, you won’t. It’s simple.
Getting published? Well, we all know, that’s another story.
Got any tricks for keeping yourself on track creatively? Share them.