Sonia Hadj Said
It has been four hours although I feel more like I’ve been sitting on this chair for four months straight. This is what happens when a writer sits down to write. It’s supposed to be exciting and fun, after all this is your passion, something you love most above all. You enjoy it, you want to be doing nothing else, but you can’t, can you? Here it goes: why you could have done so much more.
Any artistic work is still work. It doesn’t matter how much you love it, the only difference might be that you’re not getting paid to do it. This is me. I will never stop writing, even if thousands of people descend upon me saying “please, stop torturing us.” Every person who feels passionate about something knows the drill. You just can’t stop doing that thing! It’s a blessing and curse all in one. Because what if you never get paid? What if no one believes in your talent for years to come? In this case, my friends like to bring up the usual “J.K Rowling” comparison. Poor Rowling. Every struggling writer is told to look at her and believe that things can change. But that thing is: you’re not J.K Rowling. You’re not writing a Harry Potter series. You’re you and you’re going through something only you can understand. You do as much as you can and you pray that someone notices.
I tested this idea on myself and was terrified with the results. I haven’t been doing as much as I could because I was too distracted. As a writer, I know that I need to spend time writing. As someone looking for a job, I need to spend time looking for a job. As someone trying to create something different, I definitely should spend more time working on this platform.
Any artistic work is still work
This is why, when you feel like you’re doing so much it might turn out that the modern age of internet and “do it all” attitude is stopping you. This is why, when I was writing, I would stop every two minutes to go on Facebook, Gmail, the Why Magazine inbox – do all the things that I should be doing as well. When I was applying for jobs, I thought I didn’t write that much this day and I should switch to that. Using one of those apps that block your internet for some time doesn’t work when I need to keep checking new vocabulary and want to have access (I just Googled “access” because I completely forgot the word) to my Spotify – all of it.
My question was: how do I keep on working on my passions when my life isn’t settled? How do I stop going on Facebook or a Job Board while I’m writing because something might be happening? This made me think that the internet doesn’t work in favour of artists. If we can’t tame it, we will never connect to our roots and start creating without distractions. What really helped me was reading King’s book “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” where the author explains in somewhat a brutal manner that if you don’t put in the serious work, you might as well not do it at all. It seems obvious, but it isn’t if you still can’t go without thinking that there might be a new message, notification, e-mail – all of which will still be there after you’re done.
It’s been three days when I tried to apply the old rules to the new world. I wake up, send new job applications and promise myself to only leave the room to pee or get a fresh coffee. I tell myself when I can finish writing/editing and that whatever happens during this time, there is something else happening. I’m creating a completely different world that might never be noticed by anyone, but will help me stay sane.