Creative Writers Must Become Masters of Chaos
If there’s one thing I’ve learned when it comes to creative writing it’s to embrace the chaos. In fact, it should be step one to every creative writer’s guide to successful writing.
Chaos will erupt in every facet of our lives as we pursue our writing passion from our personal lives to our day jobs.
Well, we kind of have something we deem important to us while chances are the masses won’t see our journey as important.
But that’s okay.
We know where we’re headed.
Creative writers must exercise discipline when the masses typically don’t.
For us, it might mean putting in a few weekend hours to craft our novel masterpieces, waking up an hour earlier on weekdays to write, giving up a lunch break, or giving up evening television to write.
As I’ve stated in the past we might make the tough choice in giving up weekend outings with friends, get-togethers with family, or even hitting the bar with co-workers after a long, stressful day of work.
The choice, however, is quite simple: Do you want to succeed in this or not?
I know it’s blunt, but there are hundreds of thousands of aspiring authors out there so not only is the competition fierce, but so is the race to finish and finish with a high-end product.
Procrastination will guarantee nothing but more day job misery as instant gratification prevails over the possibility of long-term success.
So don’t even try it.
Set a daily alarm on your phone to work on crafting your first great novel or creative writing project.
Set multiple phone reminders during the workday telling you what you need to be doing.
As the old cliché goes, those around you who understand what you want and respect your sacrifice are true friends.
Those who distance themselves from you are not.
Yet, so many of us love to cling to the toxins in our lives who are at our sides only because we’re succumbing to their every will.
They can count on us to be at the bar every Friday and Saturday night.
They know we’ll be counted in for every sporting event they buy tickets for, every party they attend, and anything else that is going to deviate you from what you need to be doing to succeed in writing.
So, be real with your friends and yes, a lot of them will exit your life. A lot of them are going to say you’re selfish and thinking only of yourself.
Others will try to discourage you, letting you know (which you should already know) of the millions of books on Amazon and why readers should choose your book over the next James Patterson release.
And yet, some will understand your approach and support you every step of the way. They may not fully understand the why, but they will respect your choices and actions enough to at least provide support.
Sure, the bridge burnings and witch hunts may happen. The blackballs may come (especially if your views on political issues bleed through your work), and even social media blurbs will be made about you.
I’ve had all three happen to me.
But, there’s the small tribe who will understand your life is what you make it and you’re in full control. Plus, you have every right in the world to hold up a hand and embark on the path to independence.
As Joanna Penn once stated back when she was starting out, the same will apply to you, as it’s done to me: You’re going to have to downgrade.
Are you working in a field where you’ve gained recognition yet feel you should be making a living doing something else, in this case, writing?
If the answer’s yes, fate’s going to come knocking at the door sooner than you think.
You’re going to be putting a lot into your writing, because to you it’s purposeful work.
But it doesn’t mean those at your day job will understand, especially the managers.
Whew, I can relate when one of my managers tried to guilt-trip and fearmonger me into placing one-hundred-percent of my efforts into my day job.
But, when the passion isn’t there, misery builds before finally you hit a breaking point and do something you probably shouldn’t do, like leave your job and live off your savings.
Again, Joanna Penn did this.
She stated the process repeated itself several times, which you can read about at The Creative Penn.
You can only keep it bottled up in you for so long.
So, what do you do?
How does this sound?
Downgrade, downgrade, downgrade.
It means cutting back on everything, deferring student loans if possible, and living on a budget until you break into your field.
How long do you need to plan for?
Try to plan for twelve months, which will give you a full year working at your writing craft for free.
Yes, for free, but the dividends pay off further along.
And better yet, you’re going to be forced to say no to the partying, get-togethers, happy hours, and all the stuff that serves as an opportunity cost, in this case being time, to writing.
Now, you’ve zero choice. You must focus on the writing craft. You’ve nothing else.
Nowhere to turn, no job to fall back on, and nowhere to go but up.
Embarking on the creative writing road can be a tough one. From family and friends to your employers failing to understand your motives to a leap of faith into the unknown, creative writing can be chaotic.
Yet from every creative writer turned author, the number one piece of advice, the common denominator in these situations is this: Embrace chaos. Either embrace it now or learn to do so in the very near future.
Embracing chaos is the first step not just to creative writers, but anyone seeking to start businesses, pursue their own passion whatever it may be, and in life, trying something new for the first time.
If you’re willing to embrace chaos, you’re going to be in good shape to succeed in your writing journey.
Thank you guys for reading, please come back soon.