I feel like I’ve used that saying a lot lately. If you’re a writer (or painter, musician, any type of creative person) you probably have too.
Because it’s true.
Yesterday I took to Twitter to ask my lovely Tweeples if people actually read blogs anymore. What I really wanted to know was should I blog?
Because if you haven’t already noticed, blogging isn’t something I’ve kept up with. The response was pretty much Do you want to blog? Honestly, I’m not sure.
Mostly I feel like …
a) I have nothing to say.
b) I’m talking to the void so why bother.
(But I guess if you’re reading this I’m talking to you, in which case THANK YOU for listening!)
Then my lovely friend Miranda (@PurpleQueenNL) said something that struck a chord.
Of course! Write about the struggle, because that’s real life, yo. So here I am. Writing.
I’m a writer who’s scared to write. Not scary scared but fearful scared.
Wow. That sounds ridiculous. Let me try again.
Every time I think about writing I’m filled with anxiety. Why? Here’s why:
- I’m not good enough
- No one cares what I write.
- I’ll never get an agent/get published.
- I’m wasting my time.
- I’ll never reach my goals. Never.
… and so on, and so on, and so on.
Somewhere over that last 5 or so years I started writing “to get published” and “make this my career”. And do you know what happened? I stopped enjoying it and then I pretty much stopped writing.
I mean I spend an enormous amount of time and energy thinking about writing, researching and plotting. In addition to the countless hours I spend feeling guilting for not actually writing. In that sense I’m “writing” 24/7. If I spent as much time putting words to paper as I do stressing about putting words to paper (and letting it flow naturally), I’d probably have all 9 (Yes, 9!) of my novels completed and polished and querying agents.
Except I don’t do that. Because I’d rather beat myself up about how shit I am instead. Apparently.
When I’m not writing I’m berating myself for my lack of commitment, disciple, creativity, drive etc. And when I am writing I’m berating myself for how terrible I write and how “far behind I am” (compared to other writers, I guess?). I literally can’t win. I’ve made it a lose-lose situation.
Don’t write —> Stressed
Write —> Stressed
How messed up is that?
Now for the confession bit. In all honesty I am so damn afraid of not reaching my goals as a writer – that I’ll never live up to my own expectations – that I am paralyzed with fear to do anything. Better to not try than to try and fail. At least that’s what my traitorous brain keeps trying to tell me.
I know I am not alone in this thought pattern. I KNOW THIS. But that doesn’t stop my brain from telling me I am. So I stress about writing and not writing to the point I make myself sick. I’m a world class boxer and my only opponent is me and I am DAMN GOOD at beating myself up.
I feel alone and uninspired and tired. I feel old and useless and even though I know logically that none of that is true, it still runs through my mind every minute of every day. ALL THE TIME. Every day I feel like I’m failing a little bit more and I can’t figure out how to stop it. I’m my worst enemy. For real.
I miss writing because I enjoy it. I miss the freedom I used to feel when I sat down and let ideas flow without judging whether or not they are good enough or marketable. I miss not worrying about my odds of success or how it’s super unlikely I’ll be the next J.K. Rowling. I used to write because it was fun and I yearned to tell stories. I don’t feel that way anymore. It feels like a chore and that makes me so very sad.
Maybe I need to relax and stop putting so much pressure on myself. Ha ha, okay maybe not maybe. More like YES STOP WORRYING AND RELAX, idiot. I know I need to find a way to get there, but right now I have no idea how. I’m tired, remember?
Today was one of those days when I needed to practise some self care. I went out and enjoyed the beautiful Spring day and filled my Instagram with a dozen or so InstaStories (Instastory?) and wrote these thoughts of mine in my notebook while sipping on a coffee by the frozen river.
And it helped.
So maybe I just blog and yell into the void because at least that is something. Maybe you’ll read this and see yourself in these words. Or maybe you won’t. Maybe you have your shit figured out and you can give me some advice. Maybe you’ll understand my brain a bit better. Maybe you won’t. Whatever.
The creative path isn’t straight forward and as my brilliant husband (For reals. He is brilliant. I’m not being sarcastic.) reminds me on an almost daily basis:
This is why people choose not to try. It takes effort. You have to keep trying and not give up.
I won’t give up. I do this because I love it and in the end it’s worth it, right? Even if I forget that a million times. I’ve always chosen the more difficult path. I’m the black sheep who goes against the grain (there’s a bunch of cliches for ya). I’m driven and stubborn and one day I’ll figure out how to use those traits to my advantage.
Or maybe I already have.
Anyway, thank you for listening or reading. Whatever. I’ll try to make the next post less doom and gloom. Maybe. I can’t make any promises. But if you feel like leaving a comment I’d appreciate it. It’s always nice to know the void isn’t so … voidy.