My Daily Writing Commitment
Hi, my name is Emily, and I'm a writer.
I hardly ever introduce myself with that title — despite the fact I've made the majority of my living stringing words together for, like seven years — because of the expectations I think come with it.
If I'm a writer, shouldn't I be proudly slaving away at my craft on a daily basis? Shouldn't I constantly be displaying my bylines like a second-grade soccer star with a shelf full of trophies? Shouldn't my grammar skills be at least strong enough for me to recognize when I'm using the wrong form of "it's?"
Shouldn't I have at least attempted to write a book by now?
he fact that there's a growing pit in my stomach as I come up with these qualifications for being a "legit" writer is telling that I don't really feel like I am. That's partly due to the laziness I've been swimming in for the past year and partly due to my insecure mind's striking ability to remember every error I've ever made in my lifetime.
But I'm not alone in my sad saga of not feeling good enough. While every career path comes with its own sets of challenges, writing is one of the few where your work is constantly being judged and picked apart by people who aren't paying you. It's putting a very personal skill out there for public criticism.
This past year I've been writing mainly news and celebrity gossip (I am not proud of the amount of knowledge I have about Blac Chyna's romantic entanglements), and I've been picked apart more than I ever have been in my entire life. And it's not even on articles I feel particularly proud of writing.
Needless to say, I'm burnt out. And the inspiration, well, she just ain't comin' around as much these days.
I was feeling dramatically hopeless (I say dramatic seeing as I have all of my basic needs met and I'm not living under a bridge somewhere) until I came across an Instagram post from one of my favorite writers, Kelly Oxford.
"Write. Write every day and don't judge what you write. If you are a writer, this is what you do and you do it every day."
The idea behind this is so blatantly obvious: the more you do something, the more it feels apart of your identity (and hopefully, the better you get it at).
If you want to be a tennis star, you need to play tennis. If you want to be an incredible chef, you need to spend some time in the kitchen. And if you want to a writer (talking to myself here), then it looks like you're gonna have to start writing.
It's not like I haven't been writing, as I've said before, but I've just been writing what's assigned to me. If I want to write the kinds of things I want to write, I need to stop waiting for a strike of inspiration or someone's permission, and just do it.
So this is my commitment to myself; to write every day. Even if there are errors. Even if it doesn't seem to totally serve a purpose. And especially even if I don't feel like it.