This Is Not a Writing How-To: A Few Words on Altering Creative Efforts

By: Nathan Dumlao on

“For quite some time, I’ve posed the question whether I’d been down the right path exploring my creative processes, and whether it was something I was absolutely willing to put the time into. Recently, I’ve had this discussion with myself, because I was tired of fluctuating between maintaining a healthy level of productivity, and just not getting anything done at all. It would take more than just a handful of effort to get me working efficiently, and I’ve been trying to understand why it can be so difficult at times. Is it fear? Is it worrying about the outcome or what may happen later on? I couldn’t tell, but I did understand that I was only making it harder for myself. I was too consumed by the idea of writing, that I could never sit down to actually get anything done. I was also wildly unprepared when starting a project, so much so I found myself losing my way somewhere in between. It is not, and never will be an easy task. The end result will be as good as the work you put in to get there, and it’s as simple as that.”

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.” – Ray Bradbury.

It is true when they say that you’re creatively affected by environment, by the literature you consume, and by those around you in your everyday life. There has been a significant change in my attitude towards my writing when I finally allowed myself to stop seeing it as “something that has to be done” and start seeing it as “something I want to do.” We can only see the end result of a project when we’ve actively been working towards finishing it. Those who successfully manage to write every day find the time to do so. That is something that I’ve been working on, because it is not as pressing of a task as we may make it out to be. I am still currently trying to get through this particular project, so I can make room for my NaNoWriMo novel and preparation. There are many things I wish I would’ve done differently when I started – but these are changes I can still make when I finish the first draft. 

I remember what it felt like to come home from elementary school, open up a word document and just start pouring my heart into whatever story held my attention at the time. I remember how fun it was to create when there was no pressure, and that is something I’ve been tapping into for quite some time. I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to elicit the kind of response that would keep a person interested, all by the turn of a chapter or by the end of the story. When we lose sight of why it is we love to do what we do, that is when it becomes difficult. I am the happiest when I write, when I am creating, when I am funnelling my hard work into something I am proud of. Sometimes, we just need to hear it. Sometimes, we just need to see it – so that we may start working hard again and finally get to where we need to go. Inspiration helps, but it should not be the defining factor of one’s productivity – that should be your own doing, your own will.

Do not allow it to feel like a daunting task, or something you’ll get to “when you have more time to do so” because it could so happen that time may never come. Don’t look for answers in every how-to article, don’t allow yourself to fall so far you simply feel as though you just cannot write anymore. It is only as hard as you allow it to be, and if you need to make a change – do it now. 

I am going to finish this first draft, all the while working on my poetry, as well as prepping for my NaNoWriMo novel so that I may have an easier time finishing the book next time around. I am also going to have a clear blogging schedule so that I can really create content I’m proud of, and happy to share. I look forward to sharing my NaNoWriMo journey with all of you. It is going to happen this year. The novel will be finished, and I will be working to create – every day for the rest of my life. 

Happy writing and thank you for reading!


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