As a writer, writing is supposed to come as naturally to us as breathing. The words should flow onto the page (or the internets) like water down the falls.
But let’s face it, folks. That shit is for the birds.
It’s hard some days to find the time or the drive or even the will to sit down and focus for more than five minutes without clicking over the reddit or check out someone’s new pictures on Instagram. My generation was one of the first raised wholly on television and videos and our attention spans have gotten even shorter.
Now I’m not saying everyone in their mid-twenties has ADD but the fact that many of us can’t have a conversation without getting distracted by that girl’s bad haircut ten feet away or ….SQUIRREL!
Uhh. What was I saying? Oh yeah, we can’t focus long enough to get anything produced.
The bright side of it, I think, is that we have the ability to save, autosave, draft and redraft anything we work on (Bless you Cloud) so when we have those days when we just can’t sit still, we can eventually go back to it.
Take this blog for example. This is something that upon starting it, I had four or five posts drafted and saved to ensure that I could stay on top of it and set up a routine. Habits are created after 21 days. Alison here could only get 4 repeat sessions.
I needed some work.
Funny as it is being a writer – being able to sit back and observe and draw conclusions about my fellow-man, about me and about everything around me, it’s tougher than you think to actually put those thoughts to paper. Especially if you’re as out of practice as I am.
I’ve spent a lot of time recently re-evaluating my life goals and my intentions. And oddly enough, the source of true inspiration and drive came from some unlikely places.
Take my boss for example. She sat me down in a meeting and asked me, “Why the fuck are you here?” To which I meekly responded, “Uhh..my job?”
“No, no, I mean why are you here. Obviously you’re good at your job but I can tell you aren’t trying. I can see this isn’t what you want to do with your life. Why the fuck are you here?”
Thus began a long conversation about my life goals, my passions and why the fuck I am working in a shitty 9-6 cubicle hell. Turns out, I don’t challenge myself enough nor do I have enough confidence in my own talents to make sure I can go through with what actually makes me happy. I’d rather be miserable and financially stable than to be content and poor. Living the American dream, huh.
(To prove my previous point, I just disappeared from my computer for about 10 minutes because the mail was just delivered and I was absolutely fascinated by the fact that the holiday Netflix envelopes look like an ugly Christmas Sweater.)
Anyways. I’ve been meeting a lot of people lately who have only know me through mutual friends or through passing who seem to have more faith in me and my writing based solely on hearsay than should even be possible.
Another Allison (she spells her name wrong – we’ve discussed this) from my hometown is very close friends with a 10 year-crush turned best friend. She said he speaks highly of me and has heard that my writing is often inspired, detailed and incredibly insightful. I laughed at the thought but she continued gushing. “You know, you have every outlet going for you. You have people here, in DC and Pittsburgh that adore you and support you. You just need to sit down and find the time to take your passions and your talent and make something of them. I can’t make you do it, but I can tell you that you absolutely can.”
She’s one I can believe because she and her husband both own a local thriving photography studio and they’re doing incredibly well for themselves.
Then, a friend of a friend found my blog and called me later that day and said how much he enjoyed it. This guy had his own blog and podcast running for years with a mutual friend, and oddly enough had to cancel it due to his job. He told me it was funny and cute (yay?) and very precise. He is excited to read more.
Turns out I’m better than I think and that there really are people out there that want to read the nonsense that I think about. There was once a time when my writing was compared to that of Hemingway’s. I still scoff at the idea. I think I much more of a verbose and less organized Andy Greenwald. Which, if anyone remembers Spin from the late 90’s to early 2000’s as I do, this is a great compliment to myself. But, alas, even the great Greenwald has ceased to produce the type of writing I once aspired.
“So what’s with all of this rambling? What are you getting at, Alison? I have the /r/bacon subreddit to read more about the bacon shortage,” you say.
Well, when you think no one cares, there are loads of people who believe in you and your abilities. Even if you fail, there are people who will care for you and boost you back up. There are people whom you know insanely well and those you’ve just met that are a fountain of inspiration and will drive you to your goal and to a better you.
Don’t take for granted those around you and don’t forget the kind words you may hear on a random Wednesday night at a micro-pub in York. They could turn out to be your biggest fans.
And you know, you can’t let down your fans.