Monday, 9 February 2015

The Hardest Thing is Also the Easiest

I often wonder why I keep going. Most days, I feel like I am trudging through a deep bog and it is too foggy to see where I'm going or if the bog ever ends. Why do I keep setting goals, let alone trying to achieve them? Why do I keep writing?

Everything seems so damn hard a lot of the time that I find myself thinking I'd be happier if I never set goals. That way, there can be no disappointments. Anything good that happens will be a bonus. But I can't. Part of me will always want to be A Writer (as in, "proper" writer who makes a living from writing, no matter how frugal) and part of me will always write.

Following your dreams is hard. Working towards goals is hard. Keeping faith that it's better than giving up is bloody hard. I suppose the trick is to gain what satisfaction and enjoyment you can from the monotony, the banality of trying to change your life. Sometimes that will be finishing a short story, other times it will be watching an episode of Friends that I've already seen (conservative estimate) 50 times while I plug away at my novel-in-progress.

Full disclosure: I've had a stressful month and have been ill for the past week, so I'm not in the most positive frame of mind. In fact, this is the second time I've been ill this year and it's left me with about 9 days when I've had a relatively clear head. My energy runs low at the best of times, so all hope of tackling my New Year's resolutions head on has sunk into the bog I mentioned at the start of this post. Suffice to say, I feel pretty crap at the moment.

However, I read something today that made me feel a little better: time passes anyway.

It's so obvious that I've never really thought about it before, but whether or not you're working towards a goal, the time you would have spent on it passes anyway. Writing when I might never be successful seems like a waste of time, but the time I spend writing passes anyway. As does the time I should have spent writing. The real waste of time is not working towards your goals.

Am I really going to look back in 10+ years and wish I'd watched Friends more? Or that I should have spent more time worrying about the prospect of failure? Yes, it's bloody hard to keep writing (and exercising and working on being less anxious), but it's also easy to keep going because there is no other option. Time passes anyway.

So I will keep adding words to my novel and I will keep doing the little tasks that I hope will add up into something big, something good. Even if I waste the rest of every day feeling awful, I have marked some progress. I will keep celebrating these tiny milestones because it's better than the alternative. Time passes anyway, so I might as well use it to be the best I can be.


  1. I have found that the smaller the goal, the better. Instead of thinking of the entire novel, I think about the one paragraph I shall perfect today or the one scene I shall concentrate on this week. It will all add up in the end. The key is consistency. Those few words every day are taking me closer and closer.

    I hope you feel better soon, Hayley. x

    1. Thanks, Joanna — that's a great idea.

  2. It's very hard to be positive when you're feeling so low, Hayley, but Joanna is absolutely right: every little step forward adds to the end result. I can sympathise a little more this week as I've had the worst fluish cold for many years and can't believe how low it's making me - which is so not me.