Daily #10: Sweet nothing

So… I haven’t started writing my novel. I’ve stated before that the purpose of this blog is not to give advice – as I am in no position to offer any.

I have a number of years of writing under my belt, and I’m now a ‘professional’ content writer, but I don’t feel I can speak from experience on how to write something as I don’t often complete things. I have a hard time committing – exemplified by the fact that 10 days in, I’m already leaving this blog to the last minute.

I, like many budding writers or novelists, am fixated on the idea of success. It’s quite sad really – I often fantasise about how good it would feel to have a finished first draft. I’m not unrealistic; I don’t dream of my first novel being a bestseller or being traditionally published. I obsess about the idea of being able to show my mum a draft of a novel I wrote.

Being excited about the idea of completing a novel, though, often directly blocks the work required to get there. In thinking about how great the end result will feel, I prematurely reward myself with the satisfaction of doing it – despite not having written more than a few lines of said manuscript.

I was one of those children who found school too easy at first, then struggled as I progressed through later years. I breezed through the early years of secondary school, and did well enough (Bs and above) in my GCSEs despite barely preparing. While this is nice at the time, it becomes a problem well-recognised among others who were the same as children – I never learned how to work hard.

From the perspective of others, this whole topic seems so conceited – I’m complaining about finding school easy. But being able to fly through schoolwork instills a multitude of expectations for oneself which are, inevitably, torn down as one goes through each stage of life.

Instant gratification is quite a common one. A part of me, despite this being irrational, expects to be good at something after trying it for the first time. This applies to anything: musical instruments, a new video game, art, and even social skills. It’s due to this occurring so often as a child – I would pick up new information quickly and understand a topic with ease.

While other children may have learned that to become proficient in something, they need to sit down, put the hours in and make an effort, I didn’t come across this until I began my A Levels. At this point, I realised I had no idea how to revise, or how to muster the discipline required to learn the material myself.

I still paid attention and listened in classes, but the subject matter became too complicated – I hit a wall and struggled to take in the information. I burned out with school at that point, and did not go through the university application process everyone was being funnelled into (for that and a multitude of other reasons).

Unfortunately, this appears to have carried over into elements of my adult life. I generally do well in work – I care about what I create, but bluntly that’s because I’m being paid. But once that impending ‘guaranteed’ reward is gone, I am barely able to commit to things. That pertains to why I find it so difficult to develop myself outside of work.

Another key part of being the type of child I was is making endless excuses for why I am not doing something. And in saying “it’s because I was gifted”, I am doing exactly that. I’ll have to try again tomorrow.

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