Writing about Writing

Yesterday I published an entry from my diary where I attempted to understand where my creative blockages come from and what it means to me at this very moment. In a post before that one, I was having an existential crisis completely frozen in fear of wasting my precious time on something that will not pan out long-term, on something that I will once again flippantly toss away only to instantly embark on the next adventure in search for a shiny new thing to pour my passions into.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what it means to know where one’s calling lied, about the difference between being depressed and genuinely disliking what you’re doing, about the difference between dreaming about the passion versus genuinely being passionate about something.

Of all the hobbies that I’ve ever had, my thoughts would linger on my relationship with writing in particular, the verdict jumping every few hours between romanticisation and true heartfelt wish to write.

I hadn’t written for over 10 years before participating in NaNoWriMo this year so what’s there to ponder about? Well…

The truth is that I have never written much of a short-story let alone a novel. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing either. I watched a youtube video today titled “How Do You Know If You’ve Found Your Passion? — True vs False Callings” and one point made in the comment section stood out to me — “What do you do when you’re healthy? Or rather, what do you do to HEAL?”

Writing has kept me sane throughout my life. I kept a diary filled with numerous beginnings to a number of different stories as well as genuine childish diary entries. Later on, I stopped writing prose as much as I stopped doing anything else I once enjoyed (gotta love that middle/high school depression) but I never stopped writing and analysing. I kept a word document on my laptop titled “Why.doc” and it housed the utmost darkest parts of my soul as I poured it all onto the virtual pages hoping to relieve myself some of the burdens.

And it worked! Every single time. Granted, most of the times I’d end up crying at what I was typing but it helped keep me sane when the world felt like it falling apart around me.

I regret having lost that word document as I remember getting quite creative with the ways I was expressing my existential dread and manic depressive episodes in words.

As time went on I never truly went back to the same type of prose I would spend hours writing in the bathroom in the middle of the night — the only place I could use the light without alarming anybody else.

But I kept my digital diary.

Sure, the format changed from a word document to the notes app on my MacBook, but I never ceased writing entirely, the length of my diary note on my work computer long enough to slow the whole machine down despite it being purposed for high-level design work. A lot of the diary posts on this page come from my workplace diary notes as well, as all of my most productive writing would happen while I was procrastinating from actual work.

I met [best friend] when I was 13 and we’ve been friends for 12 years now and counting. And well, [best friend] is a writer. From a 13-year-old me’s perspective, she claimed the title first, it was her destiny to get published whereas I was but an amateur who liked to write as a hobby. I didn’t write daily, I didn’t write short stories, I didn’t obsess about writing or even read huge amounts of books. On top of that, the person closest to me had claimed the writer title so for me to pretend like I was anything more than a hobbyist would be outright insulting.

And a tiny part of me still does cling on to those thoughts. I’ve been supporting my friend in her writing endeavours for a good decade now and I feel extremely self-conscious and lousy to even attempt to push myself into her space — her writing space.

She’s a total sweetheart and is happy to hear that I’m writing and showing interest in the craft, but my imposter syndrome is telling a different story whatsoever. He’s whispering me a story about a person who doesn’t see me as a threat, therefore, doesn’t mind my pathetic attempts at stringing words together since they know that I will never write more than a couple of paragraphs before calling it quits like I always do.

And yet writing has always been my solace. I would unquestionably turn to writing whenever I needed healing even if what I wrote wasn’t prose but rather five-thousand-word-long posts analysing my past traumas. Writing is how I make sense of the world, it’s how I come to terms with things and find the strength to keep on going.

I did morning pages for 14 weeks without fail. That’s 98 days, 294 pages scribbled at 04:30 in the morning as I would force myself to wake up early enough to do them before getting ready for work. And then I would still find myself wanting to write in my diary, which in recent months had started to turn more prose again as I wrote snippets of conversations between characters I had never seen before but who apparently had been residing in my head.

My own brain had lead me to believe that there could be only one writer in a friend group, that I was being insulting to my friend by even suggesting that I’d like to do the thing she’s been working at for a good 10 years now. My brain told me that I never wrote, that the nonsense that I had written as a child mattered not, that the comfort writing had been providing me for my whole adult life was nothing more than time and words wasted, that my soul screaming for a moment to sit down and to explode all over the computer with my emotions shaped in letters had nothing to do with actual proper writing.

And what do I know, maybe it didn’t, maybe it doesn’t and maybe it never will.

But I had pushed away exploring the possibility of substantial writing for myself due to reasons detailed and at this moment in time, I am still extremely unsure of whether that’s my true calling or not.

I do not think that I romanticise a writer’s career, the only thing I see in my mind’s eye is an old victorian style home with bookshelves lining the walls and a heavy writing desk with my laptop on top waiting to be opened.

I don’t know if I want to write prose or not.

Maybe I’m meant to write blog post-style things like this that no one ever reads.

Maybe I am going to find a home for all the characters and stories living in my head before they turn to dust brushing a lonesome tear away for having attached themselves to the wrong person.

I for certain do not know and I possibly will never know.

But admitting to myself that this “newfound” eagerness to write is not as surprising and moronic as I had initially felt it to be is incredibly freeing. Perhaps it had laid idle at the base of my soul playing the waiting game before I would finally tap into the lake of inspiration, throughout the years offering me respite in the shape of a diary entry instead.

Whatever it might be, I truly do enjoy writing and incredibly often do I feel the wish to write, yet I rarely ever know what to write about, afraid to stare at a blank document, afraid to face my own incompetence.

But I know for a fact that the fear will never cease, it will never leave my side so the best thing I can do is to learn to live with it.

As I had read in one of the many self-help books I went through last year, the best thing you could do is ask fear to get out of the driver’s seat and push it into the passenger’s seat instead. Now you’re the one driving. Tell it to keep quiet throughout the journey as from this point on – you’re the one in charge.

I’m paraphrasing horribly, but in the end, that’s what I feel like life is all about. Accepting that fear will always occupy that seat next to you but preventing it from taking over the wheel.

I am terrified of writing and of having to face my own mediocrity.

But I also refuse to let fear drive for any longer.

I’m taking over and I’m going to fail for as many times as need be because I am not willing to sacrifice the one reprieve that got me through the darkest hours of my life for something as ridiculous as this.


I’ve decided.

I’m writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *