I used to think that I could only write when inspiration struck me. Then again, inspiration came rich and often in the beginning, before it didn't anymore. I learned pretty quickly that inspiration alone is not sustainable and that goes for many things we do in life, like deciding to do a good deed or to do some much-needed spring cleaning.
I used to be really hard on myself in my early twenties when I missed a day of writing. And to an extent, if you are trying to develop a long-term habit by being the person who writes every single day, than you should be hard on yourself. It's easy to get caught up in other people's goals if you share the same passions. But sharing the same passion doesn't mean that you share the same path, and I think that's where a lot of people, myself included, misinterpret their goals and assume instead that they have failed because they didn't follow a particular formula.
In the age of social media, it's easy for us to be swept up in the lives of others who are similar to us and view their successes and wonder where you went wrong. But ending up somewhere else doesn't mean you went wrong, maybe it just means you went in a different direction.
I was just thinking about how much I love the different communities you can find on Twitter. Once you're on on the site for a while, your feed starts to look like the kind of world you'd like to live in: with people that maybe push you intellectually, people who make you laugh, those who share the same concerns as you, those with the same politics...
I follow a lot of writers. And I have noticed something that disturbs me a little, and that's the rate at which people are publishing books. I mean authors cranking out a book a year. I believe that there are people out there with superb ideas who honestly can do this and do it well, but I feel like people's creativity is being turned into a machine. Content creation for clients is one thing, but I don't know, I guess I feel weird about this uptick in book after book.
On multiple occasions, author Arundhati Roy has said that she doesn't see herself as a machine who needs to publish a book at certain intervals. I love that she doesn't sense a pressure to be a creation of her audience. She simply is. The books are done when it's time. Of there are no more stories within her, then so be it.
A colleague told me that a popular YA author was told by another well-known author that he should write and publish as much as he can in the beginning because as a marginalized writer, it would be easy for his voice to get lost. That was heartbreaking to hear, but I understand the feeling of not being heard, a lot of us do. The world is a shit-show right now but I truly think it's a great time for minority authors. All I can do as a writer and a reader is say that I will not allow your voices to be forgotten. And it's okay to say that you're not passionate about an idea right now. That your work in progress is not meeting the quick turnaround people expect it to.
Your creativity is not a machine.
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