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Sail On, Dear Captain

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I’m a writer.

I repeat this line in my head over and over again as I work up the motivation to turn thoughts into words late in the night when my brain wants to go to sleep or early in the morning when I immediately want to jump on social media or on my days off when I want to binge watch a show. I stare at those blank pages or whatever I wrote a few days ago and many times I ask myself the same thing.

What am I doing?

I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. I was a kid who loved books and playing in my backyard, reading Treasure Island and pretending a cardboard box was my pirate ship, daydreaming of the day I would one day get my own galleon. Now I’m an adult and I still feel like I’m on that boat, still daydreaming of the day I’ll sail off into the deep. Anchored in the harbor and fearing the waves.

What is the point?

I was never one to put off hard work. My parents raised me in the belief that if you wanted something, you had to be willing to do the work for it. But I guess what has daunted me all these years was not that I just didn’t want to work for it, but rather that I was crippled by the fear of failing.

What if I’m actually not good?

I look at everyone else. Their ships are tall and sturdy. They plow through waves and storms. They don’t fear the winds. They tell tales of the dangers they faced and show their scars with pride. And it’s in those times I think maybe it’s not the sea, maybe it’s just my boat. Maybe I’m not cut out to face what lurks out there in deep.

What if I drown?

I see bits and pieces of other ships who weren’t able to hold out, wrecked and damaged beyond repair. Some now resting at the bottom of the sea, never to sail again. And I can’t help but wonder if this is to be my fate. So I remain in the harbor, anchor lowered and sails fastened down.

But what if I tried?

I realize that my ship might not be as big or bright. It might not seem like much but a boat is a boat. And a boat is not meant to linger aimless in the harbor but has a purpose out in the deep. The sea isn’t going to move for me, that’s what my ship is for.

The course I chart is my own decision. I can’t blame the weather around me or the ocean I’m in. I can be smart and adapt to the conditions, but if I let it stop me from doing what I was meant to do then whose fault is it? I was not meant for the safety of a dock but for the brutality of the seas. Regardless of storm or waves or whatever lurks in the deep, my dream was made for sailing and sail on I will.

I am the captain

We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest. We must learn to sail in high winds.

Aristotle Onassis

When Living With a Writer

By a Writer

Ah, writers. What strange creatures we are.

Let’s be honest, almost every occupation has it’s quirks and with those quirks comes pros and cons. Writers are no exception.

If you are not a writer, then you may look at someone who is and be a little daunted. Or maybe you are currently living with one and can’t seem to understand why they still haven’t taken out the trash even though you asked five times.

Worry no more. As a writer, I am going to let you in on how some of our minds work. I’ll give you some tips on how to cope with some of our antics, but at the same time, know that a relationship is a two way street. It can’t just be you putting in all the work. For this, I’ll also include a few things we writers can do to help as well.

1: Sometimes we forget things… a lot.

It’s not that we don’t care. Most times, we really do care. But our minds tend to be working a hundred mile an hour constantly. This happens because we are constantly reaching for new or creative ideas to advance our stories or build our worlds. We become solely invested in our own imagination that at times, things will slip.

What you can do: be patient. And honestly, a friendly reminder every now and then wouldn’t hurt.

What we can do: Slow down. Also, learn to carry a pen and pad around (or some other writing device) and WRITE THINGS DOWN! You may think you’ll remember on your own, but trust me, you’ll see one picture on the internet and suddenly find yourself involved in building an entirely new planet and then before you know it, your loved one is stuck washing the dishes by themselves. Again.

2: We get agitated by criticism (yeah, we do).

It is said that if you’re a writer, you need to have a very thick skins. This is true. Does that mean we always have thick skins? No.

I mentioned this in one of my previous posts The Jigsaw Heart (https://thearcaneauthor.blog/2019/01/16/the-jigsaw-heart/) . A writer’s work is sacred. Sometimes laced with our own personal feelings, struggles, and pain. Criticism can feel like a personal attack.

What you can do: Be kind, but honest. Think about things you’ve created. Think how you would want people to respond. Always be truthful, but you don’t need to be savage. Also make sure you’re giving constructive criticism, not just trying to pick apart their work for the sake of picking it apart.

What we can do: Stop being so sensitive. Not everyone is trying to bring you down or change who you are. Most people don’t understand how invested you are in your work, so give them a break. Besides, they’re trying to help. Pay attention to what they’re saying, it may just be the advice you need.

3: We can be terrible with our time

Writers who take their career seriously may spend every bit of their spare time locked up in their little spaces and typing away. This can frustrate some of their friends and family because as much as they want you to be successful, they always would like to see what your face looks like when it doesn’t have a screen in front of it.

What you can do: Schedules are useful. If you want to spend time with your writer spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, friend, etc, then you might need to actually schedule time for this. Remind your writer that they need to take a break. It’s good for them and it’s good for you.

What we can do: We can also use a schedule. We need to step away. Take a break. Get out of our own heads. Set time aside to spend with those we love. Go for a hike. Ride a bike. Get coffee with your friends. You’ll feel refreshed coming back into your project and may even find it will help you work better.

Just keep in mind, writers are human to (even though we don’t always act like it). It’s much like having any career really. We invest a lot into what we do. Just be understanding of that and at the same time, don’t be afraid to give us a little shove in the right direction. And writers, don’t get mad when they do it.

Writing is life, but life isn’t writing. Remember that and go spend some time with the people who care about you. You’ll thank me later.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people

Thomas Mann