I was watching a Minimalist YouTuber the other day (Minimalism videos are my guilty pleasure : ) and she was talking about disposing of items that represent your ‘fantasy self’.

I was intrigued by this idea. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I am definitely guilty of this sort of thinking:

‘If I just get a great pair of trainers, I’ll take up running!’

‘If I buy that meditation cushion, I will become a perfect Yogi!’

‘If I buy lots of fruit for the fruit bowl, I will stop eating biscuits!’

How many times do we make purchases of an ‘essential’ item that will help us to become something we fantasize about, only to realise a few weeks or months down the line that it is still gathering dust in the back of a cupboard, because in reality, we are just not cut out to be the person we think we should be?

I can tell you that for me – it’s a lot!

Since becoming a minimalist a few years ago and decluttering down to the bare essentials, I have gotten better at postponing impulse purchases, but it does still happen on occasion. Just this weekend, in fact, I splurged on some skin cream that I had been sold to believe would make me look ‘better’ (by whose standards??) and instantly regretted it. As I get older, I am trying to realise that I know the things that make me happy, that suit my skin and body, and that make me feel good. Booking on a Yoga class, for example, is something I never regret doing.

So where does this tie in to the writing life?

Thinking about disposing of our fantasy selves set me to thinking about how we see ourselves as a certain kind of writer. Whether that be a best-selling novelist, a hard-hitting journalist, or a serious literary type, I believe that this kind of thinking can hamper our endeavours to get better as writers. To find our own path, our niche, our writerly home, perhaps.

It’s fine to have a go at all kinds of writing – I know I certainly have. I have had success mostly at writing flash fiction and critical essays, yet I always feel a bit disappointed that I haven’t written more ‘serious’ stuff. Or that I haven’t produced a whole book-length work yet. That I haven’t reached some fantasy higher ground where I become one of my literary heroes.

In my head, as I write, I am channeling Joan Didion, the ultimate female writer icon for me. Serious journalist, personal narrative essayist, novelist, screen writer…and she looked great doing it all, too. But unless I admit that I am not JD – unless I own the fact that I have my own style of writing, and that’s okay – I will never be satisfied with what I achieve through my writing.

And that would be a shame.

So right now, I am practising being present with the page and the screen. In creating these tiny essays that keep me practising my craft. And in working on the projects and pieces that interest me. Because there is only one person who will write those pieces the way I do, just as there is only YOU who can write your way, too : )

Happy writing!