Blueprint Of A Writing Life: What Is #TheLushLitLife?
I’m a poet. I’ve always been one, but until now, I’ve consistently fought against embracing that. I want to be a novelist. I’ve had multiple ideas for novels that I’ve started on and scrapped. I’ve become frustrated, and I’ve wondered why I can’t finally commit to an idea and run with it. Anxiety took over, and I started to ruminate about never being published and never achieving what I could have as a writer. That’s when I pulled out my collection of over 100 poems that I’ve been working on since middle school. Over the years, I wrote them off as just a bunch of teenage angst poems combined with some newer stuff about my experiences and observations. I assumed that they were just practice writing, and that they would never be good enough to be a collective work on their own, but as I read over them with new eyes, my passion was rekindled, and I finally realized that poetry should be my debut.
I’ll still be a novelist. And an essayist. And a non-fiction, how-to, inspirational writer. Poetry is what started it all though. Poetry has been my mode of travel through adolescence, young adulthood, and my life today. It has been the most direct way for me to access my story and package it for others to consume. There will always be room in my writing life for poetry.
I think that I forced novel writing on myself for so long because I kept listening to a variety of people say novel writing is what “real” writers do, or nobody buys poetry from anyone unless you’re Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, or Jill Scott. As a young or starting writer, no one tells you that one of the most important things you can do to start your writing career is map out your own path based on what you really want, not on what people say will sell, what might win a literary award, or what writers who inspire you are doing. Once you commit to staying faithful to your own path, you’ll suffer much less writer’s block and confusion.
For pretty much the past year, I’ve been putting a lot of time toward thinking about exactly what kind of writing career I want and what types of things I need to do to make it manifest. Writing is who I am, but a writing career is something that has to be actively and strategically built. It affects or has the potential to affect every aspect of my life, so when I think about what I want for my writing life, I also must think about what I want specifically in each of these aspects.
#TheLushLitLife is what I call a writing life that is fulfilling financially, spiritually, mentally, and socially. This is what I’m striving for within each of these aspects:
Financially- I will be able to live the lifestyle that I want to live because I am making the income I want to make from my writing and other products and projects.
Spiritually- I am writing and creating content that just feels right. It is perfectly, authentically me.
Mentally- I am mentally challenged and I mentally challenge others with my content/writing.
Socially- I am connecting with enriching, genuine, highly motivated people through writing, creating and promoting content that reflects my authentic self.
These are the standards that I have set for my writing and where I would like for it to take me. Writing this out was the easy part.
Now comes the work.
Bene Viera recently did an interview about writing and branding for Brainwash Digital that really convicted me about how I’ve romanticized “the writing life”. I have to admit that I can get caught up in fantasizing about what I think a writing career can do for me rather than what I need to do to create the type of work that builds a solid career. I’ll also admit that sometimes I doubt that I’m living “the writing life” because I don’t have the trappings that I think I need to be a true writer, like a fancy, decorated office, a schedule full of speaking engagements, or a book tour. The only thing that makes you a writer, though, is the fact that you write. Period.
Sometimes, living the writing life means staying up late or getting up extra early to finish a poem or a story. The writing life many times will mean learning how to manage time between your writing and a day job. It definitely will mean going through lots of frustration as you write draft after draft until you finally create something that you’d be proud to put your name on. These things are just as much a part of the writing life and what I call The Lush Lit Life as some of the more “glamorous” parts of being a writer. Embracing this reality was one of the main hurdles I had to clear to finally become serious about committing to building the type of writing career that I’ve always dreamed of. All of this is part of the blueprint of a writing life.
Be the architect of your own writing career. Don’t let other people’s judgements about what a writer is or romantic assumptions about what a writing life should be cloud your vision of what a writing life will look like for you.
What does #TheLushLitLife look like for you?
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