So, I feel like I need to be upfront and honest about what's going on with me and why I haven't been writing much. This is really rambly but I'll do my best to explain.
(This is also really long, so if you don't want to read it, there will be a tl;dr at the end.)
Now, part of the reason I've been so slow working on Path of Destiny is that I needed to figure out a bunch of details for the next arc of the story. I talked to my sister about it so I think it's mostly figured out and that's not much of an issue anymore.
But there are other reasons. I want to make it clear, though, that NONE of this is caused by any of you who follow me or have commented on my story.
First of all, I'm not a 'serious' writer. Improvement is not my number one goal, it's not why I write, and it's not what I care about most - not by a long shot. I care about how happy writing makes me, and about having fun and sharing that fun with others.
However, for a long while, and especially lately, I've been often feeling pressured (again, not by any of you, don't worry, just by my own worries and the way a lot of people see writing in general) to focus on improving above all else and to worry about being 'good enough' and to focus on how much I suck so that I'm not 'conceited' or something.
All this makes me worried about every little detail I write. Striving for as close to 'perfection' as I possibly can is stressing me out. Maybe it makes me "better" at writing, but at the cost of my happiness and enjoyment.
I've also heard so many authors say that hating (or "cringing at") your older work is good and normal because it means you're improving. I guess I'm not normal. I still read stories I wrote when I was 12 and younger and enjoy them. I'm very happy with what young me wrote. Can I do better now? Of course. But judging stuff I wrote when I was a kid or preteen based on what I can do now just seems silly to me. I like my childhood stories because they make me happy. I don't care how "good" they are. I guess I just feel a little sad in the fact that I seem to be the only one that thinks that way (I know, logically, I'm not, but it sure seems like it).
The thing is, I still really want to contribute to fandom and meet new people. I love talking with you guys about my story. But it just seems like, even in parts of the fanfiction world, there's so much pressure to do everything you can to improve that it takes the fun out of it and I'm just so tired.
This is definitely NOT about anyone here. Or even other places. The majority of the comments I've gotten have been nice and inspiring and have helped me fix mistakes. But I also know it's only a matter of time before someone smarter and more experienced than me tells me all about how the story sucks and I'll feel even more pressured to just keep pushing myself toward this ideal of 'perfect.' It's not that I'll think badly of myself if people comment on my story like this. It's that it would make writing no longer fun. And I'm not talking about helpful advice that will help me fix my mistakes, I'm more talking about a "let me explain all the ways this is horribly written each chapter" kind of thing. Where I have to worry about posting each chapter like I'm waiting to get a grade on a report at school. Having to try to meet super high standards stresses me out, and if/when sharing stories online gets more stressful than it is fun, I'll stop doing it.
But I'm going to keep posting Path of Destiny as long as I can; I'm in too deep to give up BEFORE the stress I'm worried about has even happened. And, more importantly, I LOVE sharing my stories with people. I know that doesn't make much sense considering how I view writing. I don't fully understand it either. But sharing stories with other people brings me a lot of joy. My favorite way to interact with people is through creative stuff, and I can't really do that in real life.
I'm in my twenties, people around me (in real life) think I should be taking writing "seriously" now...and I know that will only get worse as I get older.
For my entire life, I've wanted to publish a book one day. But now, looking at the publishing process and everything that goes into it and just how serious that world is...I'm not sure I want that anymore. And that's really weird to say. I always knew I could never be one of those people who gives up fanfiction and goes completely professional with their writing; I knew I'd need my "just for fun" stories I could write for the heck of it. But now I don't know if I want anything to do with the professional writing world. I know why it is the way it is, but the more I see of it the more I just don't like it. I think part of it is because a lot of people are weird about hobbies like writing (the "if it can't/won't be published/making money, it's a waste of time!" mentality that people don't say about most other hobbies), and I'm just tired of it. I just want to have fun and use some of my creations to interact with people.
I'm not completely ruling out trying to publish something in the future, but I want absolutely nothing to do with that anytime soon. And if I do publish, I'm not going to let that stop me from writing about other things I love (such as pokemon) when I want to. No way am I going to sacrifice that. It's too important to me.
On another note, I'm also planning a My Little Pony fanfiction that, by its very nature, is probably set up for failure, because it's a completely platonic no-shipping-involved AU about something most people don't care about anymore. But no other story like it exists and I want to post it just in case someone out there is looking for the same thing I was.
But back to Path of Destiny. Do not worry, I'll get back into writing it. I always do. I truly love sharing Path of Destiny with you guys. I'll get excited to share it again. I'll get through the anxiety and the perfectionism. I just need to work through this.
TL;DR: I've been so worried by the pressure to work so hard toward improvement that it's stressing me out and making it not fun to write. But I'm not quitting TPoD. I just need to figure this out.