“You’re really spending a lot of time with that writing?”
I’ve wanted to write about this for a while now. It’s been on my mind for ages and though it usually never bothers me at all, these little comments keep gnawing at me. So I’m warning you, this might end up being a Rant©, but I suspect a lot of you share my frustration.
I try to do what I can to stay inspired and motivated. To learn, to get better and evolve. I want to succeed, to feel accomplished, not just when it comes to writing but in everything I do, all the time.
There are two things I’m particularly passionate about these days. One is writing stories – and though I play music, and go to work, and play video games and do a whole lot of other things – I am particularly invested in and put in a lot of effort in my stories these days.
“What if it never comes to anything?”
The other thing is training. I started a personal journey about 16 months ago now, trying to lose weight and get healthy, and it’s something that both takes a lot of time and something I decided to spend mine on. I already spent a lot of time in the gym before I made that choice, but at the same time I turned my whole life around. I made life style changes. I started saying no to things. I dedicated myself.
“You’re still doing all that training? Why?”
This blog post is partially inspired by a picture I posted of myself recently on Twitter where I showed off some of my training progress. It got a lot of attention and a lot of my Twitter friends cheered me on. I love that. I love it when that’s the case with my writing as well – when people encourage me to keep going, to keep writing, when they give me advice and feedback and critique. I can use that. I can find motivation in that and take inspiration from it. But it’s not always like that.
“Got to be careful that you don’t overdo it.”
Sometimes, people find it difficult to be happy for others. I understand that. Sometimes it gets difficult to see other people succeed. I’m sure absolutely everyone feels like that, occasionally. Especially if the thing in question is something oneself is also trying to accomplish. It stings. And it’s a completely normal emotion to feel sometimes, when other people appear to be successful and you feel like you are not.
But what I really don’t understand, is when people who make absolutely no effort themselves, still go out of the way to ruin it for others. When people who don’t write books, who don’t write music, who don’t go running, who don’t paint, who don’t do anything at all find the time to comment on other people’s efforts.
“Don’t you think you’re wasting your time?”
I wouldn’t care if it was an experienced writer making these comments. Or a health care professional. A well-renowned artist. Someone who’s been around the block a time or two and know what they’re talking about.
But if you don’t, I really don’t need your “insight.” I don’t think anyone does and I struggle to see your reason for sharing it. Have I written dozens of books or sold thousands? No. I’m aware of that and I don’t need your reminder. But at least I’m trying, at least I’m making an effort. Am I wasting my time chasing dreams that might never come to anything at all? Who knows. How’s that time spent on the couch every night treating you?
“Actually, I’ve heard running is bad for you.”
The problem of course arises when people who hear these things, day in and day out, become discouraged. When people listen, start thinking along the same lines themselves, and are convinced to quit. When their motivation dies.
I don’t think the people who say these things realize what kind of devastating effect it might have, when heard by the right (wrong) people.
“Maybe I am wasting my time?
And then the few times I confront people about these comments, those few occasions I get fed up and call it out, I’m usually met with: “I didn’t mean it like that,” or “You’re taking it the wrong way.”
Then what did you mean? And why did you feel the need to say it?
I – for one – think it’s admirable of anyone to spend their time doing things just for them. Without the promise of success, without knowing whether you’ll reach your goal. If you can do that, if you can sit down and devote your time to things that you are passionate about – I’m sure you’re going to do amazing things.