Why I Didn’t Write Yesterday
Every morning, I wake up around 6 am, make myself a cup of coffee, and sit down at my desk to write. The first thing I open on my computer is Medium, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t have the Pavlovian response of sheer excitement at the sight of those green notifications. Did I get a story accepted into a big publication? Did one of my stories take off? Could this be the story that changes my life and makes me a ‘legit creator’?
Well, a couple of days ago, those green dots weren’t so kind to me. For all the work I had put into crafting a story that captured all the inner demons I’ve been fighting over the last few years, it got rejected by one of the major publications. And these guys tend to like my work. I’ve been published by them multiple times.
I had spent a lot of time preparing this story. I actually wrote the draft about a month ago but didn’t publish it because the story contains a few ‘characters’ who I wanted to bring to life visually- and I didn’t have the time (or the guts) to actually get in front of the camera and make it happen. And then I finally did.
And nobody gave a shit.
Weirdly enough, my initial reaction to this article being rejected wasn’t all that negative. The publication that rejected me simply said that it wasn’t quite the right fit for them, and I can actually see why. However, it was just the first hit of a 1–2-punch combo that day.
I got rejected by another major publication for a 7 min read that I had written about ‘How Writing Online Made Ali Abdaal a Millionaire’. This was, again, a piece I was quite proud of. But apparently, it didn’t quite make the cut because it was somewhat about Medium (I respectfully disagree).
So yesterday, I woke up around 6 am, made myself a cup of coffee, and sat down at my desk to write. But the words wouldn’t come out.
Where I Went Wrong
Like an idiot, I let myself develop expectations for things that are out of my control. I can’t control whether or not a publication looks favorably upon what I’ve poured my heart and soul into that week. I can’t control whether what I’ve written happens to land with my audience. I can’t even control how many people see my work in the first place- most of my articles have been ‘chosen for further distribution’ but that hasn’t really done anything to boost my views.
Now, I don’t want to be one of those writers that say things like “stop looking at stats”, because let’s cut the bullshit, everyone cares about their stats. However, I do think I need to stop expecting results from my creative work.
And I definitely need to forget about how much I’m earning (or not earning).
Losing my corporate job last year due to COVID-19 put me and my family in deep financial difficulty. We’re just about hanging on right now thanks to my part-time marketing agency job and the odd bits of consultancy work I’ve managed to pick up over the last few months.
However, barring some sort of miracle, writing on Medium isn’t going to pay any of my bills any time soon. So I need to call it what it is- a creative outlet and a way to practice writing in public.
Why I’m Writing Today
Because I’m a writer.