Last weekend I found myself facing frustration after frustration while working on advertising materials related to my novel, and these setbacks left me feeling severely demotivated. My weekend did not feel like a break from work and left me antsy from the lack of resolution to the issues I encountered. Again, I am missing my self-imposed deadlines for finishing this project. I headed back to the office on Monday still stressed and exhausted, having failed in making the progress necessary to move forward with self-publishing.
Many people in my life don’t understand why I get so discouraged and frustrated over missing self-imposed deadlines. But nearly everything in our lives is structured around dates and deadlines, whether you’re talking work, school, appointments, sales, applications, or even taxes. There are deadlines or cutoff dates for everything! And by setting deadlines, I am trying to elevate my writing and creative pursuits from a hobby to something more serious.
There are countless hobby writers in the world. Some of them stick to writing fanfiction, borrowing other people’s characters and settings, because they have no desire beyond celebrating a shared love of a fandom. Other hobby writers don’t take their writing seriously enough to polish it before presenting it to readers; many such writers have given self-publishing a bad name in the past, because they want the credit (look at me! I’m a published author!) without putting in the appropriate work. And still other hobby writers don’t believe anyone would be interested in reading their stories and hide their writing away from readers except for maybe a select few friends and family members. None of these people put in the effort to finish the work required to show they take their writing seriously.
I want to take my writing seriously. I have wanted to become a published author since I was old enough to read and write on my own. Unfortunately, finishing the process has eluded me. Life tries to conspire against me as it did last weekend. The whole point of giving myself deadlines is to try and overcome such obstacles but presenting something rushed and sloppy without putting in the appropriate work doesn’t seem much better. Over the years, I’ve watched my father not finish many of his own projects because they turned out to be harder than anticipated. And I’ve heard my mother say things like, “Are you sure you want to do that? It’s going to be a lot of work/too much work.”
But anything worth doing and doing well is always going to take more effort than the average person wants to give. The people who shine are the ones who don’t give into mediocrity and pursue their dreams for themselves first and everyone else second. They don’t settle for acceptable. They don’t compete with others. They push to continue growing their own talents, skills, and knowledge throughout their lives. They may finish one project, but then move onto the next, always pursuing more.
I want this for my writing. But I also want this for my other creative pursuits too.