Even though I consider myself a writer, first and foremost, I find that writing often falls dangerously low on my list of priorities. Writing has always been a release for me. Whether it be working on my novels (and there are way too many on the go), journaling or penning the oh-so-terrible poem that often seems more like a tragic rant than anything.
But lately I’ve been doing the I should write, but…. song and dance. You know the one where you admit that you could/should be writing but follow it up quickly with a massive list of reasons <read excuses> why you can’t.
Yeah that’s where I’ve been.
Given that writing is so essential to my well-being, I figured it was time I uncovered the source of all this excuse making. In a sentence, I’ve fallen out of love with writing. I say that with a gigantic asterisk.
I don’t mean that I’ve fallen out of love with my story – I haven’t – I just mean the entire process has become tiresome. Falling out of love with my writing, to me, means that I’m no longer having fun at what I’m doing.
And why aren’t I having fun anymore? Simple. In the pit of my stomach, disguised as a golden nugget, sits a familiar enemy – perfection. Ah yes, that tricksy noun has been a plague on my soul for countless years. Sure it’s golden on the outside but when you crack it open it’s filled with putrid, gooey ickiness at its core.
My desire to be perfect – to have each written word come out perfect – overshadows my need to write. I’m so paralyzed by this desire that it’s become easier not to write then to stress about whether it’s good enough.
Like a reoccurring nightmare, this golden nugget of perfection keeps coming back to haunt me. No matter how often I try to remind myself to just keep writing, perfection walks in, spreads its ickiness all over my confidence and clogs up the creative flow.
I write a sentence and the tar-like substance slides in, wraps itself around my words and infects it. It infects me too. And so at some point I just stopped writing. I gave in and gave up. I long to write but I’m afraid to pick up my pen. Instead I watch others write, edit and publish. I sit on the sidelines and mourned my own failure; throwing myself pity parties to comfort my aching soul.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Writers are all up in their heads ALL THE TIME, it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re crap. I say convince like it took effort, but in reality it goes down more like this:
Me: Hmmm, is this good enough?
Golden Nugget of Perfection: Nope, it sucks. Give up now.
Me: Okay, if you say so. *walks away from writing.*
Okay that might be a tad simplistic but it sure feels this way. Am I the only one that has long, drawn out conversations with myself? GAWD I hope not!
Anyway, the point of this post – and I do have one – is that I’ve let myself fall too far from my writing and instead of walking away quietly, I’m taking a stand (again).
I’m giving myself permission to just write. No it won’t be perfect, but in the end I’ll be much happier if I continue to write than let it fall into oblivion.
If I have to remind myself a million and one times, I’ll do it. I hope I learn well before then but the point is I’m never giving up. I hope you won’t either 😉