An Ode To Stickin’ Around

Man in striped apron paints canvases in Bardolino
Eddy Klaus, Unsplash.com

I’ve been married for about thirteen years, been at the same company for nearly twelve, and pursuing the same art (writing) for twelve.

This may seem long or short depending on your perspective. All of those years in those areas of life have not been meadows filled with daffodils, but through the grace of God, mountains of encouragement from my writerly and non-writerly friends, I’ve stuck with them.

Recently, I wrote about how I haven’t been writing. How I’ve been uninspired and if I’m honest I felt that I wouldn’t miss much if I stopped. This would not be true but it’s how I felt.

This feeling has occurred multiple times with my art. But because of an awesome community and this nagging in my mind that just won’t go away I keep huffing and puffing along.

The reason I started writing again is twofold. One, because I want to publish a work of fiction. I have two books that I’ve been attempting to ship for a combined eight years. The second is because recently, I looked back at what has happened through the ups and downs of twelve years of chasing my craft.

I was astonished at their cumulative weight

Reading that list may have made you feel gross, like I was boasting, and I apologize. But what I wanted you to take away was that all of those mile markers happened because I stuck around.

There were failed starts, massive struggle, five kids being born (zero upon negative-infinity-absolute-zero hours of sleep) and all the while managing a full time job, and making sure that my wife and I have a strong marriage.

I wish life could be straightforward. I learn something, improve, and then move onto the next thing. But what I’ve come to understand is that sticking around for a while, staying in the game, and being downright stubbornly consistent can offer an opportunity to build a foundation then a first and second story and so on.

Are you thinking of stopping your art? I’d encourage you to keep working.

Who knows where you’ll be in twelve years?

Are You A Chronic Starter Or A Steady Finisher?

My iphone is filled with ideas. It’s my virtual commonplace book. I keep all of my short stories and blog posts and novels there. I would not be surprised if that list took up more storage than the albums on my phone.

The main reason I have all these ideas is that I get inspired easily. Some might say it’s a focus problem but I like to think I’m just creative.

If I call myself creative I can simply shrug off my inability to stick with one thing for very long. The problem with this? I never give an idea a chance.

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The strange thing about this is that I’ve been married for ten years. I’ve been at my job for almost that long as well. I have commitments that I keep in every aspect of my life but my writing life. I think I might have discovered the reason and I wondering if it is something you struggle with as well.

If I call a piece finished, it can be judged. Someone can tell me it is garbage and I should stop while I have the rest of my life left. No need to continue down this silly little writing path. You have to be great after all, or born with it, right?

Because of this self doubt, I have a hard time hitting the submit button on a blog post not to mention the dozens of drafts I do on a book that lay here and not in some agents slush pile. I am a chronic starter in need of a cure for my disbelief.

Do you struggle with finishing? Why? If not, what are your tips for sticking with it? I’m all ears.