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You Live, Only Once

I've been thinking a lot about the path I've had to forge on my own. With anxiety. Bullying. Quitting school at sixteen. Fighting to make the world understand that my disability is real. I can't really say that I've truly been "living" these past fourteen years. But one thing I have persisted with through all of these struggles is writing.

I'm having to accept now that my path with writing is not a well-worn one, either. Yes, there are so many authors who have come before me. Who've inspired me with their stories. But I've found that my process is pretty different than most writers. I don't write every day. I don't follow rules and guidelines. I don't read craft books or take classes. I don't use templates for outlining. I spend the majority of my time on the first draft. I don't often force myself to write. I "wait" for inspiration.

Maybe I'm lucky that I'm able to do it this way. I don't have deadlines. I don't *have* to force myself. I also couldn't. My anxiety is just too bad to force myself to write every day, or even on a regular schedule. I have to do it when I feel up to it. When I'm inspired. Not only is that the only way to keep myself from getting too sick to do anything, but it results in better work.

You have to live your own best life. My process isn't for everyone; that's for sure. I'm not in any way trying to imply that my process is better than anyone else's. But what I do want to say - what I've been fighting to say every time I see rules and guidelines brought up in the writing community - is that there is not one right way to write. I don't care how common a piece of advice is... it is not absolute.

You can write any way you want to. You can live your life any way you want to. As long as you're putting your heart and soul and compassion into the life you're living, you are doing it the right way. Your own right way. You have to trust your intuition over the voice of the crowd. Over your own fear voice. It is by no means the easy path. But in the end, as far as I know, you only live once. Don't you want that life to be your own?