Do Everything You Can
In my journey of focusing more on writing, I have been hesitant to start something new when I haven't finished other projects. My brain churns out story ideas constantly and while I write them down, I have been automatically shelving a lot of them. I tell myself "I have to finish the novel" or "that short story that needs another draft" and I let the new ideas collect dust.I don't know why I was doing that.As a writer, I need a portfolio. I need the work. Like any artistic profession, I need to show my style, accomplishments, what I can do. As an actor, I have monologues in my brain, character development exercises, dialects, and other skills that come in handy every time I walk into an audition room. Same goes for a painter or a musician. We show what we can do on demand to further our careers.I've been a little lackadaisical about it. That might be a little harsh but I've been focusing on doing the work for myself and that isn't going to get me very far. I want it to be more than a hobby. I have submitted maybe three short stories (all rejected) and that's about it. I said in my last blog I want the big time so why am I just saving my work on my desktop to never see the light of day?I have my novel and I have a short story possible novella. Those have been my focus. But I have three personal essay ideas that I want to write to submit. I have thousands of short stories in my head and I should be aware of contests, submissions, online magazines that like flash fiction. I need to be doing more.I checked off some boxes. I have been perusing Submittable every day, reading up on where to submit the types of writing I am working on, researching query letters and literary agents. Do I expect to be an overnight sensation? Oh, god, no. I just want to be the most prepared I can be if I am going to continue down this road.I made a goal for April with Camp Nanowrimo to write an hour a day to work on the second draft of my novel. I got behind and disappointed in myself earlier this week. Then I realized I had written an hour a day, just on other things. It counts. I want to build a habit of writing every single day and I was doing it. It all goes towards me getting closer to big dreams. To being published. To having my stories spread farther than I can do on my own. It all matters. I only need to do the work and stop overthinking how much or how little I am doing. If an idea comes to me, I need to write it.At first, I felt overwhelmed considering this. I want to write a blog every week, get back up on my story Instagram, write the novel draft, submit the short story, write these personal essay ideas. I thought: Fuck, I can't do all this. I will explode. Then I realized I was in good company. I read all these other writers share their creative process and they all have fifteen projects on their desktops and even more in their brains. A writer, like an actor or a painter, is always working on something if not a thousand somethings. It is the very definition of passion. I can't stop nor do I want to stop so why would I think I have to limit myself?Burn out is possible, of course. But I need the portfolio, I need the work. I have to get it out on the page because I will explode if I don't, not the other way around. I leave you with my discovery for the week: just do it all. Do all you can because if this is your dream, why wouldn't you do everything every moment you have free to get closer to it? I am doing the work. It seems like a lot but the weight of it is lighter than I imagined. It gives me anxiety; I worry I won't be able to reach any of these goals. But I might as well try instead of shoving them aside. I have faith it will be worth it.