NOTE: This post was originally published on my Patreon page.
With the new year comes the undeniable urge to do some housecleaning. Go through the closet, the cookware, the basement. What do we actually need? What can we get rid of? Donate? Re-purpose?
This year I wanted to de-clutter my life: both physically and digitally. Last year, I tried my hand at freelance writing. I basically failed, but my Pinterest feed and search history were CLOGGED with all these bogus posts and websites written by affiliate bloggers who INSISTED they had all the secrets and would give them up for the small price of $19.99 a month.
Blah. Blah. Blah.
Even though I’m not a librarian professionally, I’m trained as a librarian in the digital age. With that training comes the great big bullshit meter, the same bullshit meter that went haywire every time I found myself scrolling aimlessly through one of my feeds. I was sick of seeing all these gross, fake, get-rich-quick schemes from these stay at home moms who were exploiting their own creative talents in the name of some big-brand corporation.
So after my week of hiding (and the first week of January I was hiding, mind you. The U.S. president was trying to start another war and a beautiful country was burning. I couldn’t stand to see it anymore), I crawled back to my laptop and began unsubscribing from the bullshit I’d somehow accumulated in 2019. It was cathartic, to say the least.
There’s so much garbage on the internet, guys. So much. If it’s not a get rich quick scheme it’s a post about “how to write a novel in 6 easy steps” or something silly like that.
Maybe I shouldn’t be so harsh – maybe those things work for you. But let me tell you right now: those endless posts on how to write a publishable novel in a week or how to start a profitable blog over night or, my personal favorite, how to be more productive are written by people who are exploiting your how insecurities and, let’s face it, you’re willingness to get distracted and procrastinate.
Not that you shouldn’t educate yourself. Certainly you should. But find legit resources. Go to the library, enroll in some classes at your local community college, join a writer’s group. I took the plunge and paid for a year-long subscription of writing MasterClasses and it changed my life – and my writing.
Here’s the hard truth, guys. If you want to be a writer, if you want to finish and publish a book or send a short story out into the world, then you have to sit your butt down in that chair and write. Write, finish it, and then go back and edit. And then when you’re done editing? Leave it alone. Move onto the next thing. Maybe you go back someday, maybe you write a sequel. But you can’t spend 20 years working on the same project and then despair over how no one knows who you are.
Let something be imperfect. Let yourself grow past projects. Let things stand on their own and harder yet – let things die that aren’t working.
You can do it. I believe in you.