How to Answer The Writing Question
If you attend any holiday gathering over the next five weeks someone’s gonna ask you how your writing is going and sometimes the answer is “SO good” which is wonderful and I congratulate you on where you are in your life. You’re in the sweet spot. Be proud of yourself.
Of course sometimes the answer is “not great” which is also totally fine because we are not perfect people and we do not live perfect lives and sometimes it just feels nice to speak your truth.
But maybe you don’t want to say “not great” because you don’t want to feel that way about a thing you love, or maybe you would not enjoy articulating that particular vibe out loud, and also is it even this random cousin’s business how your writing is going anyway? What are they even doing with their lives to ask you this kind of question? Have they ever even had a dream before? Probably not. And who invited him anyway? This fucking guy.
I was thinking about this particular question because I have mixed feelings about my writing at the moment. I am definitely in the spin cycle of projects right now. My own answer feels so complicated and layered that it got me thinking I don’t even know how to answer this question myself! Except I want to have an answer. I like to be straightforward and direct and not-gripey (except when I absolutely have to be gripey) and surely there is a way to respond to this question that will feel honest but still positive.
So this is what I came up with for me and for you, if you like, too. To sit down and think about the thing I liked most about my writing this year, even if it was just one cool sentence I wrote (because surely we have all written at least one cool sentence) or one interesting idea I came up with or something fun I’m looking forward to writing in the future.
A few minutes ago I just wrote down an answer in my journal. First, I talked about some really cool lines I wrote in my novel and how I hope people will get something out of them when it is finally published next year. Then I talked about this new newsletter I’m doing and how I’m challenging myself and seeing what I can learn about myself in that non-fiction realm. In some ways it feels frivolous because it’s not A Book, but it feels good and like what’s possible at this point in my life and think it’s important to write the things you can write. And you never know where these things can lead. And I am excited. The end.
And that’s the answer I’ll give to anyone who asks.
What’s the answer you’ll give? Maybe it’s just, “Hey, do you know where the bathroom is?” which is also totally cool. There are no rules to answering The Writing Question. There is only what makes you feel good and comfortable. It’s your writing. It’s your life. Not theirs.
Sending peace and love to you and all your cousins,