Photo by Bianca Moraes.
I could say that life’s gotten in the way of my writing practice, but really it hasn’t. I’ve gotten in the way.
Somewhere over the course of the past two years I started retreating into a shell of fear and doubt again. Too scared of what people would think of my writing (because I’m an impostor, duh) and buried in internal dramas of not feeling ‘qualified enough’. Whatever that means. And, if we’re being completely honest, I started to let my anxiety and affinity with small bouts of depression (which tend to involve a self-pity party or two) get to me.
My passion started to shrivel up, more so than ever before. The well of ideas went dry and everything felt forced. Nothing I wrote felt good enough.
You could practically see the tumbleweeds rolling across this blog and even my poor journal was left untouched for weeks at a time. I was a deer in headlights, paralyzed.
Trying to monetize my writing as a freelancer made things even more complicated. Writing about topics I could care less about, like dental health, for a few extra bucks a month killed any remaining spark I had left in me. Overwhelmed by advice from internet writing ‘gurus’ who preached being useful and relevant and constant. “Anything on your blog should be relevant to potential clients.” But any time I tried that it felt forced, it just wasn’t me. So I figured if what I wrote wasn’t serving a ‘purpose’ then it wasn’t worth sharing. Which evolved into sharing nothing at all.
Of course, comparing myself to other writers didn’t help either. How could their stories spill straight from their souls to their fingertips like that? And here I am rambling on about who knows what. It was obvious I wasn’t cut out to be a writer. Or so I tricked myself into believing.
Sometime between early spring and now something sparked back in me. I assume it has something to do with the heavy self-reflection of these past 6 months (anyone else sense big change as 2016 rolled in?). Or the realization that just writing for myself was OK and that everything I wrote didn’t need to be inspiring, informational or part of marketing strategy. And most likely when I stopped making my writing less about others and purposes, subsequently freeing me of so many silly expectations.
So, I don’t have an e-book in the making and I’m not on the road to becoming a successful blogger. But I’m still going to keep writing. Even if it’s sporadic and only about my personal experiences. Even if my sentence structure is horrible and I use too many commas.
Just like so many things us humans try to put borders on, writing doesn’t have to be done a certain way. Even if no one reads this post, writing it still made me feel that fire in my belly. The one that has me feverishly scribbling my pen across the paper, words spilling out as my hand tries its best to keep up.
I’m being reminded of how much writing intuitively makes sense to me. It’s an integral part of my life, interwoven in the cells of my being, that helps me connect with and process the world. It’s ‘my thing’ and no matter how far removed I may become we always find our way back to each other. Picking up where we left off like old friends.
As I continue to smash these self-imposed barriers and expectations I can feel my shell cracking open. I’m feeling more alive than I have in a long time and that extends further than just my writing practice (even though I suspect it plays an important role). What that means for this blog or ‘making it as a writer’ I’m not really sure. For now I’m just giving fear a big ‘Fuck You’ and enjoying quality time reconnecting with a huge source of joy in my life. If along the way my stories can connect with others that’s an added bonus.