It’s going to be worth it. It matters. These are the things you need to hear today.
Writing is worth it. Choosing a place you will write consistently and a way you will measure writing consistently and then doing the actual writing – consistently: this is all worth your while. It matters in ways you won’t understand at first. It matters when it feels dull, uninspired, worthless. It matters when it feels alive, golden, real. It matters all the times in between. And I’m using writing because it’s what I know but let’s pull in your own dream real quick: gardening, running, further education, travel, buying a house – it’s worth it. Stay with me. Translate this whole post in your mind as you read. Put in your goal whenever I talk about writing. These words are meant to be true for you, too.
I know what you want: you want to have done the work. You want the work behind you. You want to see the fruit of your labor. Girl, I want to see the fruit of your labor too. I believe it’s going to be beautiful. And I truly believe it will come. But I know how it won’t come and I know one of the ways that it will. It won’t come by wishing on a star, by taking long inspirational walks in the woods, by sitting outside long enough. It won’t come by reading good books and calling them “field work”. It won’t come by attending a conference and calling yourself a writer with a fainthearted name-it-and-claim-it attitude.
It will come by writing. It will come by writing the days you believe you’re a writer and the ones you believe you’re not. It will come by writing on the days when you felt wildly inspired and also writing on the days when you were sure you’d have to go back and delete every word, unthink every idea that led to those words. (Yeah. It’ll come those days too. Don’t discount them – remember all the days that I told you matter? Those are in there too.)
I’m only partly here to reprimand you. And we do need it, a little. All of us begin to think that if we put in the work partly, that should be good enough. (It’s not.) Or we begin to think that we can’t put in the work. (That’s false.) No, you need to put in the work completely. You have to be all in and you have to be in it for the process, the work, the long haul. You can’t be in it for the applause that will not come on a predictable timetable or in an expected fashion. And you can put in the work completely. Honey, maybe you’re working full time and trying to workout and keep up a social life and all that you see is the ways in which you can’t. Then start with five minutes, girl. Start with five minutes and do it day in and day out. Read Atomic Habits and figure out how you can make that tiny, atom-sized habit a real one that sticks. You can write a book five minutes at a time. I believe in you. If I can write while raising a toddler, house-hunting and getting ready to birth a second child into our family, then you can write during your day job, your crazy social hours, your wacky gym schedule.
There’s more to what I’m saying though. The second thing I’m saying isn’t so much you can or you have to but it matters that you do. It does matter. Your book is beautiful, babe. The world needs what you carry, as Janessa Wait says. She’s right. You’re carrying the stories you need to write even if you don’t recognize them yet. That’s ok, darling. Sometimes it takes a while. I’m still in the process of recognizing some of my own stories. Stick with it. What you find will be worth it.
People will need to hear the words that only you can say. Please write them. Please write them hour by hour, or minute by minute. Please write them as slow or as fast as they come. But write them. Remember the fire that burns in your stories: think of it like a campfire. Sometimes campfires are little – they burn in the back corner of a yard and people stop by it to roast a marshmallow or warm their hands in between the exciting night games. And sometimes campfires are huge old bonfires. They roar and crackle so hard people need to stand back and turn slowly so they don’t get too hot on one side.
Friend, your fire matters no matter how huge and bright it burns. Your story matters. Tell it. The house you want to buy can be a home where you welcome people, where you welcome yourself finally. That degree can be a means of inspiration for others, a means of joy for you. That perfect latte pour can be your pride and joy and make somebody’s day, all at once. Any creative or artistic endeavor is a thing of weight and glory, darling. Never forget this. It matters. Your work matters.