That's the thing I hear from every blog or how-to or article about writing. How do I become a writer? WRITE.
I consider myself a writer. I certainly don't make money at it, but is that really the litmus test? I have four rejection letters. I'm saving them. I have finished stories. I have (lots of) unfinished stories. I write. I'm a writer. But a lot of times, I don't write anything. Lately I haven't been. There are too many other things to do. There is Netflix. There is Steam. I still haven't finished the Scrivener tutorial. I have a new laptop that still doesn't have my music library set up quite to my liking. Sometimes, it's too hard to sacrifice other things to impale myself upon the empty screen. Sometimes... I even dread it. These other things are excuses.
My latest project is something I came into with a lot of enthusiasm. I love new projects, because they're shiny and new. So full of promise. Oh man, this is my best idea yet. But then I settle in. It turns out maybe it doesn't work the way I thought at first. I need to rethink some of this. Then it becomes a chore. It feels like work. I don't really want to tonight. Or the next night. Or the next. Then I dread it. My story has sat alone, unloved. It resents me now. I'll get nowhere.
It's a little like a relationship. At first, you're smitten. The other person can do no wrong. Everything is cute, or brilliant. They are perfect. You are better when you are with them. After awhile though, you notice things. There are imperfections. You're calling me again? What for? I just saw you this afternoon. Do you have to chew like that? Oh... you don't like Star Wars? I think I'm going out with my friends tonight. Yeah, I'll see you tomorrow. Sorry I didn't call. I forgot.
The main difference being that this story isn't another living, breathing person with feelings to consider. It's a collection of words on a page, and you can ignore it with impunity. It won't get mad, or judge, or talk about you behind your back. But it is still there. Alone. Waiting. And you know it's there. You made it. And now you're neglecting it. Playing a ten-year-old video game into the wee hours. Watching cartoons. It notices. It knows.
It's difficult to get over this self-defeating cycle. Thusfar, I haven't succeeded except with short stories. Because they're short, you see. I have yet to complete a longer piece. 8,000 words is my record for a finished story. I don't count my one NaNo "win" because it isn't finished and likely never will be. I need to trudge on through the tough part.
So what do I do? I go online and ramble on about my neglected story guilt. Why? Catharsis? Validation? Madness? Who knows? Who cares? I'm writing something again, even if it's this. Enjoy my neurosis.
Here's my favorite cat gif.