Can You Be Successful Working On 60%?

14 Aug

As writers, can we have full on, ‘I am fed up with this, and don’t think I can be bothered anymore,’ syndrome? If we can, does it pass? Or does this mean we really are finished?

I guess the answer lies in our long-term dreams. Our personal determination, the drive to beat the hurdles that lay in our path.

I always relate writing to any other area in your life. If you do not want something enough, it just won’t happen. Sure, there are plenty of people out there that you can say ‘got lucky’. Many of those will agree with you, however, luck, or hard work are the same thing. You work hard to create your own luck.

I was discussing with someone the other day where they saw their life going – jobs, family etc. Having known this person for a long time, I was quite comfortable in telling them that the reason everything they ever tried failed (I didn’t use that term but I am simplifying for the sake of this post), was that they only ever put in 60%. Everytime a hurdle came up, or the effort involved something they didn’t like, they gave up. The truth is, this person only feels that for it to be worth working for, they have to enjoy every moment.

Don’t get me wrong, to do something you love is the greatest gift, but, and this is the big but, to survive in this world you have to be making money from your love. How much are you going to keep loving it if you do it full-time yet can’t pay the bills? The way I see it, no matter what you do, where your passion lies, if another area of your life goes on unfulfilled, it will eat away at you, and all the positives that you gain from one area slowly get sucked into a void.

It is this very reason that most people are unable to sustain a full-time career in a creative way. Most writers work full-time in a dreaded day job, their dream of a publishing deal only unleashed of an evening. I know of artists in a similar situation. It is not uncommon, and most of us accept it is the nature of our choice. It is not any different to those who love cricket, and play at weekends and occasional evenings. We can not all be professional, and until we are (hope must always remain) we can only ever treat it as a hobby.

But what of this ‘can’t be bothered anymore’ attitude? We all hit highs and lows. Indeed, reading writers blogs of recent weeks, many of us seem to be lacking the drive we need to stay focused on the end goal. Few however, like me, have reached rock bottom, wondering whats the point?

Some of you may have read last weeks post, since then, I have learnt that my hard drive is corrupt, the work lost forever. I have managed to retrieve from Gav the first seven chapters, thirteen however must be re written. I have notes. I have sections that needed re writing. I knew it was only a first draft. Getting the words down on the page, as they flowed draft. However, I know, as many writers do, that sometimes the words and emotions in that first draft will remain to the end. The rawness of the writing conveying so much more than carefully deliberated sentence structures that we all succumb to. Sometimes, we put ourselves in a mindset that can at times be painful, just to make sure the message is true. I am not sure I can go through that again for this piece.

I am not counting the hours of lost work. That doesn’t really mean much, but that emotion…

The thing is losing my work has killed that WIP. I won’t be returning to it. It has also killed my motivation to blog, tweet, well anything writing related. I am even blocking out ideas for my next project. It’s like I am deliberately telling it all to go away. I don’t want to know. Don’t knock at my door. Where writing is concerned, I would say my effort is at 2%

Now it maybe that I start a new job this week so I am preoccupied. It is a convenient excuse, but the truth is, as anyone who reads my blog regularly will have realised, I have been seriously lacking heart for some time. I have decided, it is time to give up. Well for now anyway. I am pretty certain that every time I berate myself for not writing, I knock myself a little more. Not to mention my falling twitter stats. Maybe social media got too much? I wont be participating on twitter for a while. I also won’t plan to blog too regularly, if I get one out a week it will have to do. You see, I do want to write, I want to be published, but the networking, writing, scenario has got a little too much recently. I can’t keep up. I don’t want to. I just want to write when I have time, when the inspiration comes – when it is my choice.

It is hard work moving forward with our dreams, but it is up to us to set the schedule. It is also up to us to accept the responsibility when the dreams remain unfulfilled. If you only run at 60% that is fine, just don’t blame others when it doesn’t work out. I would love to point the finger at everyone and anyone for my current frame of mind, but I know, it is all down to me. I hope I will get pass this, but I guess only time will tell.

Have you ever felt like this? What did you do? What should I do? (Warning: any offers of advice for the third question will probably be growled at – yeah, I really am defeated right now – but still smiling).

9 Responses to “Can You Be Successful Working On 60%?”

  1. submeg October 26, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

    People wonder why I write everything by hand first. Not just because I enjoy the feel of the pen gliding along the page, but also because you always have a physical copy of your words.

    There are times when it all feels too hard, that putting in the effort requires effort you just don’t have. However, there is something that always burns away, silently pulling you back. Realising the things you wish to accomplish is half the battle. Once you know what you want, then you can go about completing them.

    I realise that I have a LONG way to go, so I have enlisted the help of to keep track of all the projects I have set for myself. A great way to find people with similar goals to keep you motivated!

    • Ellie October 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

      Wow! You handwrite everything! That is dedication. Luckily my work was finally retrieved but it was quite worrying for some time. I havent found the motivation again to get started, but I am busy with so many other things i am not sure it is really as bad as it seems..

      Bucketlist sounds like a good idea. I shall definitely have to check it out. how does it work? Can you view others lists? Are you listed as Submeg?

      • submeg October 31, 2011 at 7:37 am #

        Yes, I find that it is quite relaxing. When I am planning, it gives my brain a chance to race ahead and plot out a scene, it stops the “insertion point syndrome” – the insertion point blinking at you. Mocking you. This way, I will have it all written and I can use speech to enter it into the computer. I will be able to hear sections that sound difficult or plain disgusting. Hopefully it will make editing easier.

        Bucketlist is pretty simple, just add things you wish to complete before you “kick the bucket”. Yes, you can view other lists – either by goals or categories. Yep I go by Submeg on there also.

      • Ellie October 31, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

        I have taken a peep and hope to sign up soon. for now, I dont want to add any pressure on myself – I see the new year as the next starting point

  2. Charlotte August 15, 2011 at 8:41 am #


    So sorry to hear about your lost work. I can imagine how hard it would be to recover from that.

    I’ll be missing your blog if it does go quiet, but I think social media can be dangerous. Certainly the pressure to keep up with it alongside trying to complete writing projects can be dangerous. If it’s standing in the way of your progress and happiness then it needs to go, at least for a while.

    Likewise, the writing. It sounds like it’s time to stop beating yourself up over it and go find something fun to do instead for a while. I’ve had phases before where every time I think about writing (or some other creative project) it just feels like a burden and I end up feeling awful. That’s just joy-killing. If I get to feeling that way I usually give myself permission to put it aside for a time – say a couple of weeks or so – and devote all free time during that period to doing purely fun things. Usually I feel better about it after that.

    Hugs, and I hope you will feel better about it all soon too.

    • Ellie August 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

      You’ll be missing my blog?! Oh my goodness have you any idea what you did to all of us when you decided to up and leave England…everyday I logged on to see if there was a new post…just hoping…I know you warned us…

      I think that sums it up. We rely on each other for support and general chatter, and if I didnt have the likes of you I probably would have walked away some time ago, without any consideration. Knowing that you have been through similar bouts makes me smile – not because I want you to have a hard time, but because it really does mean I am not alone, and there is a way back.

      Thanks as always…now time for some fun!

      • Charlotte August 16, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

        Well actually… I didn’t have any idea about that. Thanks, that made me smile. I’ll try not to do it again 🙂

        And good, because it’s true – there is a way back and it’ll come around for you. Enjoy your fun time! I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you again when you’re ready.

  3. Laney August 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

    Well…I had a feeling something was going on, you’ve been missing in action for a while. I’m sorry to hear about your files, that’s heartbreaking. And I’m sorry to hear you are seriously considering stepping back, although I’d be lying if I said doing the same hasn’t crossed my mind many times. I think you know it has.

    I’m not sure how useful my advice will be as you’ve covered the basics already in your post. I do however think it’s not only ok, but also useful, to step away and look back again with fresh eyes and a new perspective. Perhaps that will be all you need. Only you can answer that.

    The social media of this industry is overwhelming, I agree. And it certainly over-rides actual writing a lot of the time. Balance is hard to find and I believe it’s a matter of experience that the successful are able to juggle it so well. I am nowhere near where I need to be either.

    I’m selfish and like having you around, so of course I hope your inspiration strikes, your muse yells at you to keep going and you stay in the loop;) You’ve certainly helped me to keep moving on darker days and I appreciate that. I could ask you a million thought provoking questions, but I’d just be taking up space. Think long and hard and then think some more.

    Keep my email.

    • Ellie August 15, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      Thank you Laney for such kind words. I am hoping this is just a phase and it will pass, but I am trying to be realistic. I have been fighting against it for some time and I am just not winning.

      Having blogging friends has been a real inspiration to me – you have all taught me so much, certainly I know I am not the first to crash, it’s just everyone else has done it with much more composure.

      I will definitely still continue to read everyones posts, even if I am not actively writing myself. I have been lurking around for some time, just not commenting. I will take each step a day at a time. Already holding my hands up and admitting my mind set has helped tremendously. Thanks again.

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