Writing is hard… Like really fucking hard.
In fact, it’s so hard that sometimes I really wonder how any of us do it. I remember one night in graduate school when I just sat down at my computer and cried– wondering how I was ever going to create something with so many words and even more meaning. I didn’t think it was possible for me to write a book, let alone sell one. And then I’d read stories about how some writers finish projects in a couple of months, a couple of weeks even. To me, it sounded crazy. And I didn’t think it was possible. Not until it happened to me.
About a month ago, I sat down at my computer and opened a new document. I was in between projects— revising a novel and drafting my next poetry collection— when something snapped in my head and my muse took over. And just like that, I was a goner. There was no warning, no sign that it was coming. Everything just hit me at once. I wrote day and night, scribbling down thoughts, writing down phrases, and I typed and typed… And drank coffee and tea, forgetting about sleep, about emotional attachments to words and lyrics. It all just seemed to pour out of me, page after chapter, theme after metaphor, and before I knew it, I had written 100 new poems– 15,000 words in three weeks flat.
Now for some of you reading this, this might all sound like child’s play. But I’m a slow writer. It took me two years to write my novel— which as I mentioned, I’m still revising— and a year to write my first poetry collection. So what happened there? Did the muse take over? Did I finally crack?
I have no idea.
Probably a little.
But what I do know– that experience, that creative possession, taught me something very important. When there is a story burning inside of you, when you know you have something to say– something that is clawing at your insides bursting to get out… You feed it. You let it grow, let it learn, let it breathe, and then BOOM. You release it and you release it without fear, without pain, without worry. You can’t obsess about whether or not anyone is going to read it, if anyone is going to understand the vision you’ve built.
The first person you’re writing for is you– and if you can impress yourself, if you can enlighten yourself, then you’re doing well and you should keep doing that and keep doing it often.
Write because you have something to say… Not because you want to be heard.