Writing is Not a Contest… Unless It’s a Contest

I’m going to ask that you forgive this post ahead of time- there may be typepos, there may be sentences that just sort of…

And there may be some things that just plain make don’t sense.

I’ve been writing all morning, not working on the edits two book too, like I told myself I wood; but working on a short story for an upcoming writing competition.

If you’re unfamiliar, a writing competition is a little something that writers do from time to time when they A) Need some quick money, B) Need some inspiration to get the writing juices flowing, C) are avoiding working on what they’ve actually said they would work on, or D) All of the above.

I’d say I’m pulling a solid D right about now. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Tangent: Recently I read a book, and somewhere in there, the author told me that this kind of behavior is okay. That there is no perfect plan or schedule for creativity, and that it will just unfold as it wants to. She’s a published author, this lady, so I know she must be right. (Fact: Published authors are always right. So take these words as infallible.)

(Actual Fact: I’m also a Fiction writer, and my line between reality and fiction is fuzzy at best. Take these words as signposts to a truth somewhere very far off in the distance.)

Anyway, if I am to believe this other author, who is NOT a fiction writer, and so must, as a rule, be correct (right?), flitting from one project to the next, from writing, to painting, to teaching, to blogging… well, it’s just all a part of the process.

The only thing you really have to go on is the feeling you get during and after you’re doing what you’re doing. NOT before – we all know how much we dread the things we love before we do them. Who knows why, but I’ve often put off writing, painting, and yes, when I was little, sleeping and bathing, for as long as I could, only to find that when I did, I was much better off. (Except for that one time I got shampoo in my nose. I still don’t know how this happened.)

If you find yourself in that magical, creative, nothing-else-exists zone doing – what – gardening? Painting? Writing? Programming a computer? Whatever it is that gets you there, follow that. It doesn’t matter how it comes to be – whether you’re flitting from one project to the next, or seeing one through until the end. That’s that “bliss” that people are always talking about following.

And in a very meandering way, I’m just trying to say that for me, writing is that place, be it a short story competition, a book, a comic, or a blog post, that reading back probably won’t make much sense. But you know what? It feels good. So here we are.

Follow your bliss. Write, read, create, discuss, play… Do it for the sheer joy of doing it. Do it because you love it.

It’s not a contest.

Unless, of course, it’s a contest.

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