The dream is free

So today I googled writing exercises and one of the first results was a link to the most introspective writing exercise I’d ever heard of. The challenge was to ask oneself the (uncomfortable) question: Why do I write?

Well, I found it uncomfortable, which is why I decided to answer the questions and then share them very publicly on the internet. If you’re a writer I would highly recommend answering these questions, even if you decide to lock the answers in a box and hope that no one ever reads them. The post is here.

What do I want to write?

  • I want to write poems that crackle with life, that are relatable to other people but which also sound beautiful and make unexpected connections.
  • I want to write short stories which do the same and which linger in the reader’s mind.
  • I want to write plays which make people laugh and cry.
  • I want to write reviews which help people decide if they want to buy a book, I want to draw out a writer’s strengths for appreciation so that readers can decide if they would appreciate those strengths.
  • I want to write features which make people laugh and then get chucked in the recycling.

How often and how much do I write? Do I have enough time to write and could I make more time for my writing?

I categorically DO NOT write enough; on good weeks I mean this in the way that all writers mean when they say they wish they had more time to write. On bad weeks I mean that out of the 168 hours in the week, 74 minus work and sleeping, I dedicate a paltry amount of time to writing, despite having spent 4 years learning to be a better writer and a lifetime telling people that I want to be a writer. I’ve pinned a quote on Pinterest which goes ‘The dream is free; the hustle is sold separately.’ If I’m brutally honest I am just now deciding whether I personally want to afford the hustle. What can I say? Students like free stuff.

What are my top three goals as a writer?

  • To stop writing for self-esteem and praise.
  • To write for the sheer joy of it.
  • To publish a collection of poetry which is worth making public.

What is my five year plan as a writer? What do I need to do to achieve my goals?

  • To simply decide whether I truly want to achieve those goals and to put in the graft accordingly.
  • To develop an internal barometer for when a poem is doing what it needs to do in the best way in can instead of relying on other people’s opinions.

More time spent reading and listening closely and writing and writing and redrafting would probably achieve both of these macro-goals.

In the past year, what have I accomplished in working towards my goals?

It’s a diddy bit more than a year ago but I won two IdeasTap briefs and got some great feedback on my writing as a result, and I took part in a really cool online course which got me writing more regularly because I had deadlines.

So that’s it. Feel free to share your answers if you feel so inclined, because I’m nosey healthily curious.


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