When I first started writing longer stories, I thought that writing would always come in the flood that happened whenever I sat to type. I though that a writer who had the gift never lost that gift — that prose would be easy, as it was for me at the time, that writer’s block only happened for a week or two, that I’d never run out of stories to tell and obsess over and perfect.
But for the last three or four years, I haven’t felt that surge to write. I don’t think of myself as a writer any longer because I don’t sit for hours typing away through chapters and chapters of books I’m working on. I struggle to even create blog content that a good writer could consider journalistic. And I have never been a good journalist. Every time I sit to write about life, it becomes less an opportunity to make an interesting story out of every day, and more just a narrative of the sporadic thoughts going through my head at that moment.
So for my birthday, I bought myself a journal, which I have vowed to write in every day as much as I can, whether it’s just one line or a few pages worth of thoughts. I have always believed that the best cure for writer’s block is holding pen to paper, away from the internet and distractions, in a quiet corner of the house where no one can interrupt and all of the cat videos are unreachable. I’ve given myself permission to write absolutely anything in this journal, unlike the books I’ve tried to fill in days past wherein I attempted to stick with a theme, and even if I never end up getting back to that fevered young author that I used to be, at least I will have a place to jot down anything I want to with no worries that someone will be expecting me to finish that thought, publish that book, continue that story. Writing has always been so personal to me. I know that part of the reason the flood slowed to a trickle was that everyone expected (or expects, perhaps) me to put it out in the world for money, and attaching a monetary value to the things that come out of my heart just felt so cold and impersonal. I felt as though there was pressure to write for money, and not for the love of writing. To make a gain from the most intimate thing, the skill I have that has always embodied my heart and imagination and personality. In a sense, I felt as though I was being asked to sell a part of myself. My soul, as it were.
It got to a point where I became annoyed any time someone asked when I would publish, any time I received another review urging me to complete a story on Fiction Press, any time I was pressed about what I was writing and when it would be put up for others to read. I started not wanting to write, because these were my stories, and I wanted to share them at my own pace, on my own time.
And perhaps someday I will publish a novel, or a book of poetry, or a short story compilation. But for now, I will keep my writing in the pages of this journal, and perhaps occasionally in the lines of this blog. It’s time for me to reclaim the love of writing, and drop the frustration that rises when I realize I am not the writer I used to be. Instead of trying to be the eager young girl penning fantasies, I need to discover a new identity for the author in my heart.
Maybe this blog is it. Or maybe someday, my novels will be published, on bookshelves here and there, satisfying that small part of me that wants to hold what I write in book form.
I hope you are all having a good week! Happy Thursday!