When I discovered I was a multipod, I realized that my tendency to pick up interests and drop them ad infinitum was not a deep character flaw but simply a characteristic.
It was liberating to realize there was nothing wrong with me.
But it took me a little longer to realize that my identity as a multipod has meaning for my writing as well.
I write like a multipod. What does that mean? Well, currently, I have several projects I’m working on; fantasy/folklore, horror, memoir, and this blog. I also have a lot of ideas for other kinds of stories in various genres.
There is an internet full of writing advice, and I’ve read many, MANY books on writing in the past few years. Most of it tends to have the same problems for multipotentalite writers as conventional career advice does for multipotentialites in life.
Finish what you start.
– Most advice
As multipods, we’re told to stick with one career, one passion, for life. That’s being debunked as we speak by awesome people like Barbara Sher and Emilie Wapnick (go Puttytribe!), but there’s been so little on multipotentialite writers.
Finish your story, even if you don’t feel like it, or it’s not what you’d envisioned, or it didn’t go the direction you thought. That’s what I read and saw in dozens of places. And it always, always made me feel guilty. Yes, I have finished stories. I think there is incredible value in finishing something, to know you can and to develop the ability to finish a story to its end. I felt hugely accomplished when I finished my first novel two years ago.
But is it always the right thing to do? Is it worth it to keep working on a story you fall out of love with? Writing advice is a bit like dating advice; you’ll stop feeling it, but you must still commit and work at it. That’s what love is. Yes, I agree. That’s what love is. Is that what writing is?
I love metaphors as much as anyone, but in this case, I don’t think love and writing match. Just like I don’t think love and careers match for multipods. The whole “soul-mate,” one-for-life kind of things works for love. I believe in monogamy. I believe in working out a relationship with someone you love, especially when the going gets tough.
I don’t believe in a career soul-mate. Not anymore. It doesn’t exist for a multipod, who will move through careers and passions and interests and must do so.
It also doesn’t exist for multipod writers. I have at least ten stories going. Conventional wisdom would have me finish each story before moving on to the next one, or, as some less narrow views have expressed, have two projects going that are very different, so if I experience writing fatigue with one I can still keep my writing edge by working on the other. But I’m not allowed to work too much on the other until I’ve finished the one I’ve set my mind on.
It’s bad advice for multipods. It just is. As in life and all our passions, we must be allowed to move between things. We must be allowed to go as far as we need to and let something go when it’s time.
I used to look at all my unfinished stories as black marks against my credibility, but now I see them as stepping stones. There are stories inside me that must come out, and sometimes I have to circle around to them through other stories before I can get to them.
I’m circling around my point as well.
The point is; if you are a multipotentialite and a writer, you will have many projects at once, and you will bounce back and forth between them, leaving some unfinished. And that’s okay. That is natural for you, as natural as bouncing between interests is.
Once I realized what was happening, and that I was feeling the same guilt with my writing as I once did with my interests, I had a real ‘aha’ moment. I decided to allow myself the freedom to write whatever I wanted, as long as I was hitting my mini-habit goal of fifty words a day.
I made cards like the Rotating Priorities Board, one for each writing project, and taped them to my wall – there to switch around as my feeling dictated per day. Now, I can look at all my options and go with the one I’m feeling most in tune with that day or week. And usually, it’s not a case of five minutes here, then five minutes there. I really don’t think that could be productive. But I have found that some weeks I’m really into blogging, so I write a dozen or so posts. That’s great because there are other weeks when I just want to work on my story, and I have those blog posts already ready to go.
And then some weeks I just need to journal, so that’s my writing.
But no matter what, I’m always writing, and I’m fulfilling my need. It’s just not in the same way as other writers; writers who, like the one-career-for-life people we see, can dedicate years and years to a single book. We think we should look like them. We think we should have the same kind of writing attitudes and work desk and schedule that they do, and as multipods, we forget that our multipod identity extends even within our interests.
I’m here to tell you that as a multipotentialite writer, your writing journey will look different, and that’s okay.