Hopefully slightly better each time
The thing about being an unknown writer is that no one gives two fucks about what you’re writing.
Or maybe that’s just the general state of life (i.e., no one really gives two fucks about your life - unless you’re a celebrity - then people care, because there’s money in it). Ho hum!
On the one hand, the fact that no one cares about what I am writing is depressing. It feels like I get up every morning, dedicate myself to my craft, bang away for hours on my keyboard - only to produce nothingness word vomits. It’s like tossing your resume into an endless void or swiping right a million times with no matches. Some days it feels downright pointless. Why am I even doing this?
On the other hand, the fact that no one cares is freeing. No one cares! I don’t have to write anything I don’t want to! I don’t have to worry about how bad it is! I am free to just roam around the weird landscape of my mind! And spit out whatever appears on the horizon!
So what does any of this have to do with iterations? Bear with me here.
It has to do with iterations because writing is iterative.
I hate to borrow a term from startup culture but I am finding that being iterative actually makes a lot of sense. Anyway start-ups don’t have the monopoly on the term iteration and certainly there are some great parts of startup culture. Sidebar - read this about startup culture, I felt it was dead-on.
This means that my writing - and by extension my life - is just a constant work in progress (yes, duh, I’ve said this before, but it’s always worth repeating). I am constantly tinkering with my personal system. Every time I take on a corporate job, it inevitably gets to be too much and I have to take a break. I used to think of this (and still kind of do) as failing, but I am trying to re-frame it in my mind as iterating. It’s me reminding myself yet again that my corporate career is still a deep part of me, but that it isn’t fully who I am.
Iterating because I am still figuring out what it means to be a writer my way. I am still, after a decade, figuring out how to balance my paid corporate work with my writing. I am still constantly testing, pulling, pushing, recalibrating. Now, even more so with all the other parts of my life: my family, my friends and all my other passions. It’s the proverbial eggs in a basket. I have chosen to fill it with many different eggs. Even though other people have big shiny eggs that I do not (writing accolades! fancy corporate titles!), I have to keep reminding myself of how lucky I am that my own basket is overflowing. And that I am the one who has to keep it filled.
In this next little while, I am searching - I am looking for what this next iteration of my relationship with my writing will look like. I am on a quest to move the needle just a little bit more towards “writer”. A little bit more towards giving myself the space to let go of the weight I’m carrying. A fraction of a step towards the life and career I imagine for myself - that my soul is holding lightly (thanks to my life coach!).
Whenever I am in these periods - these spaces, I have to remind myself to take a look around and welcome a new spring. To welcome new possibilities and to look for new opportunities. Because I am, after all these years, still figuring it out.
I am iterating.