There’s this great Benjamin Franklin quote that I’ve been thinking about, considering I’ve been slacking on my writing endeavors lately. I feel horrible about posting blogs barely once a month, and so to fix that I’ll commit myself to posting a new blog every Monday.
In lieu of this commitment, I’m also trying to discipline myself and write more of “The Last Chance” whenever I have time (because I’ve really been slacking on that, too, and I NEED to get it finished!). But before I get all upset over my own laziness, I need to explain myself.
I have been swamped with work, too busy for my own good. It’s a bad habit I have, over-committing myself, because for some reason I love to feel busy all of the time – it gives me a sense of purpose, a sense that I’m doing something important with my time. Because quite honestly, I can’t stand wasting time.
For example, since my freshman year of high school, I have:
- published two novels
- been in two schools musicals (I had a lead role in one)
- played three seasons of varsity softball
- played one season of JV basketball
- been a choir member for two years
- gotten inducted into National Honor Society
- gotten elected as Student Council Secretary
- chaired the Social Committee and planned Homecoming
- joined the Speech & Debate team
- done High School Enterprise club and built a Dobsonian telescope
- done a year’s worth of taekwando
- joined my church’s youth group
- joined Book Club
- coached 5th and 6th grade girls softball
- taught Sunday School to preschoolers at my church
- gotten straight A’s, taken honors classes…
…and that’s just during the school year!
So as you can imagine, I’ve been stressed, overworked, and exhausted lately with all of the stuff I’m currently involved in. Some of my writer friends have published two books in less than a year, and I felt like I was a failure or something because I hadn’t done the same. But then it occurred to me – I was too busy living life right now, so how could I possibly have time to write about life?!
You see, there are points in time where writing is all I want to do, because I wish to delve into the fictitious lives of my characters. However, in order for my characters to come alive, I sometimes have to step away from the book and be fully present in the real world. Ultimately, the best books reflect the struggles, emotions, and realities of everyday human life in a fictionalized fashion. In order to write a great book, you have to live through the emotions and struggles you want to portray in that book. For example, my friend Lizzie writes romance novels; while they’re cute and sugar-coated, they lack depth and true emotion. You know why? Because that friend of mine has never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, never fallen in love. With all due respect, her books don’t accurately reflect the realities of having a high school boyfriend. She’s writing from her intuition and imagination, not experience…and that’s the difference between her book and, say, a John Steinbeck book. Because Steinbeck reflected his life experiences in his writing, and it showed.
So just because I’m not writing all of the time, it doesn’t mean I’m wasting my time. In fact, I’m gaining valuable life experiences that I may eventually use in my stories. I’m living a life so full, it’s worth writing about. Right now, I’m at a point in my life where I’m doing more things worth writing about than I am writing things worth reading, but that’s okay. The life of a writer is meant to find a balance of both the living and the writing, so that somewhere in the middle you have a beautiful creation of both the written word and the life experiences to compliment it.