Finally, an idea!
Brimming with excitement, I mash the buttons on my keyboard, letting the words spread across the page. It’s finally happened; I’m inspired to write again! Paragraph after paragraph emerges on the screen so effortlessly I question what caused me to stop writing.
I falter. I stop. I panic.
“That’s terrible! Why am I writing this?” I ask myself. I delete the text I’ve written. I write something else. I hate it just as much. I try something new. Again, I hate it. Eventually, I admit defeat and close the document.
Every project I work on encounters the same pitfall, the same feeling of unease. “Am I a good writer?” I ponder, and thus the repetitive thoughts of negativity burst from their hiding places. “Who would ever read my work?” “What’s so special about my writing?” “Why don’t I just give up?”
At most, I can muster half an hour of typing before my efforts crumble before my eyes. Article after failed article is tucked away into a folder, never to see the light again. The number of unsuccessful pieces of writing surely outstrip the amount I’ve completed.
I admit, I tend to disrupt my own work. I begin an article, I get excited, and then I find a way to loathe it. “5 Tips For Living In Student Accommodation”? Been done. Next. “An Open Letter To Myself Aged 18”? Self-serving and pitiful. What else? “Kate Bush as a British Icon”? Would anyone even care? With that, another venture is relegated to the scrapheap.
Why do I self-sabotage? Perhaps I’m comparing my writing to published works, foolishly believing that other authors create gold the second they begin typing. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence, a fear that my work isn’t up to scratch. My frequent disposal of projects could be an attempt to save myself from what I imagine to be an inevitable, overwhelming amount of ridicule.
Unfortunately, my writing has suffered in recent months. Articles have been scrapped as soon as they’ve begun, ideas are dismissed at a rapid pace, and my work has become limited and automatic. A part of me hopes for the one perfect article that’ll restore my confidence and kick start my creativity, and yet I know it’s silly to rely on such a fantasy.
What do I love about writing? This I can answer with ease. It’s the depth, the broad scale of topics on which I can research and share my thoughts. It’s a platform to bare my soul and open up comfortably. I await the moment where everything falls into place, as if my work is a giant jigsaw which feels intimidating at first but soon reveals itself to be a joyful experience.
Perhaps my favourite moment is surveying the finished piece. I can bask in the knowledge that I’ve produced this from scratch, put my idea into words, and ended with something I can be proud of. Hearing from others who have enjoyed what I’ve written makes me feel so satisfied, so accomplished. I need to recreate these moments.
I could start small, maybe write something short and simple. I could read over the work I’ve already published and see what made it so enjoyable to craft. I could even take a break from writing, recharge, stop forcing myself to create.
I’d definitely consider myself a novice writer. My work isn’t read by many people, and I write for fun, not as a career. At the same time, it’s an important part of my life, something I enjoy devoting my time to. I hope this is the start of a revitalisation, the moment where I get stuck into (and fall back in love with) writing.
Who knows, maybe I’ll go back to some of those archived articles and give them another try.
This article was originally published on Medium.