I Google searched “changing my goals as a writer” today and I came across this interesting post. I soon started to click on other links reading in different words what I already knew and have read from various blogger authors. Before I head further into what I learnt from the endless clicks and reads of advice from bestselling authors, for some reason when I read this article, there was something about the tone that made me feel like I was reading from a woman and then I came across one of the links to his books and realized it was a man. Weird.
Anyhoo, there was something in the first post I read and Eureka! A reminder of something I always do to stall. It’s deciding that if what I am writing is not what I want to share with the world on my blog, I am not going to write at all. It seems like a subconscious rule I need to consciously undo. Reading this post made me realise I need to make it a daily exercise to write whatever it is I want, as long as I do write as part of my daily exercise, and I can choose to publish it or not on the blog.
Lately, I have felt like my posts are absolute crap, because they aren’t overly intelligible and redundant. I am still trying to figure out what I should really share on the blog and in the process of thinking about it instead of just sharing, I freeze. It isn’t writer’s block per se. I have tonnes to share, most of the time it’s just those voices of internal dissent that cause the stall as the debate rages on.
But reading all these various writers posts it really is everyone saying the same thing it’s just the audiences vary. And because they vary not everyone has heard everything. That’s what makes niches, and that also means I need to stop acting like everything I want to share is redundant and not useful to my readers.
I have seen how so many writers create a mini media empire and a business from their work, I got tired of signing up for newsletters because of this. I got tired of my emails being flooded with the endless new courses, seminars or workshops etc. There is always something to sell, and I get it people need to make their writing grow beyond a habit; it needs to become a living breathing livelihood. I get it.
I have done the dance in my mind severally about doing the same, but it just isn’t for me, the purity of my writing is when I have the luxury to share whatever I think and feel as it comes to me. It is one of the reasons I haven’t monetized my blog. That’s the one place where my writing isn’t for sale, it’s just Rose.
At some point I genuinely wanted to, but for what exactly? Talk about other people’s products? It is only when you keep writing that you steadily find your truth and at times I feel like I haven’t figured it out, at times I feel like I am running away from what I need to do. It’s mind dance.
I have started several manuscripts and gone nowhere, never more than 20 pages, I seem to stall. I realise now from most authors it was because they knew the end from the beginning so the task was to weave their way to the known end. This week I watched an episode of Mike and Molly, in season four, Molly, the lead protagonist is on a mission to become a bestselling author after quitting her job. She does a lot of different things to write the perfect manuscript, she even stalks a bestselling author in the series played by actor extraordinaire, Susan Sarandon. And she says something powerful, I will paraphrase what she said, “as a writer, you need to write what you don’t want to people to know”. This just alludes to the concept of vulnerability.
Khaled Hosseini’s only written a handful of books but his stories last so long with me, long enough to start fading when a new book comes out. Chimamanda Adichie’s characters are also laid bare before you. With these two authors, I feel like I am watching the plot unfold before my eyes as I turn every page. And that blows my mind. But it’s the rawness and vulnerability of the lives of these characters that I find very fascinating.
You judge them but there is something about the author showing the humanity in them, the good, the bad and the ugly in them that makes you still forgiving of some of the characters indiscretions but also let the characters shift from the pages of fiction to your reality. I want to be able to do that but lately, after I started reading Half of a Yellow Sun, I felt a bit intimidated by this. I kind of feel I should slow down on the fiction novel and maybe focus on the non-fiction book I had also opted to write, but you know these are just feelings that can also change with time. But the bottom line is like I have done right now in a few minutes of reflection; is write. Write daily and steadily build towards that first book.
Does it have to be a global bestseller, we all hope it does, but I don’t want that to be a motivation. It works for some people, but what I really want like what Khaled Hosseini’s and Chimamanda Adichie’s characters do for me, I want my readers to feel, fellowship and vivify the characters or real people whose stories I intend to share.