A pretentious question, perhaps, but one that has been playing on my mind over the last few weeks. Maybe that’s because I haven’t blogged or really written anything that hasn’t been for work, but maybe it’s also because I’m feeling creatively fulfilled at work, but still feel as though something is missing. Why is the novel I told myself I’d write on my commute only 5,000 words long? Why haven’t I pitched hundreds of pieces to national newspapers and magazines, when writing freelance features is the ultimate goal? Does the fact that I’m not not doing as much creatively as I could be mean that I’m failing in some way? So many questions.
I sometimes look at people my age (or younger) on Instagram and feel inadequate. There’s always something they’re doing that I’m not. Maybe they’ve been published, they’re celebrating their book launch or they’ve interviewed someone famous. Obviously it goes beyond Instagram, but that does seem to be where people’s creative endeavours are spotlighted. And that’s no bad thing: it’s inspiring to see what people are doing and social media is sometimes the best way of sharing what you’ve written or made. Undoubtedly I will share this post on Instagram in the hope that a couple of people will respond to the phrase ‘link in bio’. It’s not a problem I have with social media, it’s a problem I have with myself and how I’m constantly comparing what I do with what other people do.
As well as a comparison thing, it’s also a question of whether it’s enough to feel fulfilled at work. Do I always need to be doing more, or is it okay to come home after a day of writing/editing/admin and just watch The Great British Bake Off? I imagine the answer is that there’s always a balance to be had. (I feel as though I spend my whole life trying to find ‘balance’ in one capacity or another, and it always tends to just slip out of reach). Theoretically, I could do so much more than I’m doing now, but would I ever actually feel as though I was doing enough? Knowing my brain, probably not.
Ironically, I just got distracted from writing this and somehow ended up on Twitter, scrolling through #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I don’t go on Twitter very often so this had passed me by until now, and it’s a shame that I didn’t remain blissfully unaware any longer, because the thought of all those people out there attempting to write 50,000 words this month while I plod into work each day and maybe write the odd blog post frankly makes me feel anxious.
But, back to the question in question, I think the answer is going to be something I spend the rest of my career/life figuring out. Learning how to satisfy my creativity both in my work and outside of it will be an ongoing thing, as I strive for that ever-elusive balance. Maybe one day I’ll write that novel, but there’s no point beating myself up about not doing it right now. (If I write it down, maybe it will stick.)