“So what’s your plan for your writing?”
Rarely does more than a month pass before one of my well-meaning friends or acquaintances asks me this, and frankly it might be my least favorite question of all time. I’m not sure why, but it fills me with the kind of anxiety and dread that usually only come to me during freak storms (you should see how I prepare for hurricanes — the hilarity of my fear-guided neuroticism never ceases).
I’m not sure why, but the idea that my writing should do something has always pervaded my consciousness. It took me a year of hemming and hawing to even start this blog, because I was freaking out over finding some kind of purpose or path and wasting time asking myself bullshit like “well, what’s my personal brand going to be?” Long gone are the beautiful, sad days when I wrote just to write, sitting up in my room scribbling in journal after journal with no intention of ever showing anyone my work. That was simple. This feels like anything but.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this way. A few days ago, my brother and I were chatting about his foray into standup comedy. I told him I was proud of him for how much he’s killing it — he only started about a year ago and he’s already come so far in both his confidence and performing skills.
His response? “Thanks! It’s weird cause I have no idea what I’m doing. Is this a hobby or what?”
I said some offhanded things about how passion projects don’t necessarily need a definition — they provide all kinds of benefits to us without necessarily needing to go anywhere in particular. But I would be lying if I said I never feel that way about my writing. What AM I doing? Who am I doing it for? Why isn’t writing up in my room enough for me anymore? What pushes me to face my fears and share my deepest longings and secrets with everyone I’ve ever known (including their mothers) not to mention any stranger or potential employer that happens upon my work?!
The ultimate question is: why isn’t it enough?
Why isn’t it enough to write a decent personal blog with a handful of followers who look forward to reading my essays? Why isn’t it enough for my brother to stand up on stage a couple of times a month and make some people laugh? Why are we so driven to do more, push harder, define it, perfect it, monetize it?
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Today, I’m just asking. I’m asking because that feeling of dread that comes every time someone asks me if I have a plan perplexes me. Why can’t I say, “I don’t have one — writing words and pressing publish is the extend of my plan”?!
If I’m being honest, I’ve been disenchanted with all of it lately, in a way that’s been really hard to pinpoint. I can’t tell if I’m sick of my own voice, or if I’m just experiencing some fatigue. Perhaps I’m just ready to reach out for something bigger — or maybe just different. Maybe, I just really need a plan to push me forward, and not having one in place is sabotaging me.
All I know is that none of it feels like enough. A passion project like this blog probably can’t stay suspended forever. It has to move forward; to grow. Otherwise, I risk losing the drive to just keep writing. I risk giving the whole thing up in lieu of something more practical; something easier. Something that doesn’t push me quite so far out of my comfort zone or require me to give myself so brazenly.
The crux is that right now, I’m a bit directionless. Yet I still feel the desire buzzing just beneath the surface, telling me to keep moving forward. I have no idea what I’m moving towards or what my end game is. I just know that I can’t stop now.
I guess I’ll just have to figure it out when I get there.