Monthly Archives: March 2015

Taking writing off the shelf

This is the fourth version of this post I’ve written since July last year. Who has ever heard of a blog post that has been nearly a year in the making? Perhaps it is fitting though, since my failure to actually complete the post would indicate that I have not, in fact, been ready to start writing again. Am I ready now? I’m not entirely sure, but I’m more ready than I was last summer. At that point I think my desire to write was much greater than my ability to. For a number of reasons, I simply lacked the necessary mental space to dedicate time to writing on a regular basis.

Despite attempting to at various points in my life, I’ve never before been someone who writes every day. At times, I’ve written frequently, and sometimes even many days in a row for a long stretch, but never every day, period. Ever since my early teens, I’ve been the on-and-off type, simply because short bursts of frantic activity were what worked best for me. I would blatantly disregard the advice to have a set schedule, yes, but after taking a few days or weeks off, I would always come back to it with new energy. Until I didn’t have any energy left over for writing at all.

The dry spell started nearly four years ago, when I hit a rough spot financially. I was about a year into my job as a freelance translator, and still in the process of proving myself as a competent and reliable worker. In addition, I was a student with a more than full course load. Needless to say, the combination of studies, a rapidly increasing work load and the constant worry about money was a rather trying. There was always something I was supposed to be doing. I handed in work assignments, because I had to. I went to lectures, attended seminars, wrote papers, took exams, because I had to. Just these basics were often a struggle, but anything beyond seemed insurmountable.

Others may speak of writing as a necessity, something as essential to them as breathing. At times I’ve felt shamed when others talk like this, despite having a very pragmatic approach to writing in general. I’ve never truly related to what they were saying though. If I stop breathing, I will die. If I stop writing? Life will go on. Sometimes I’ve even thought I might be happier if I decided to give up on writing altogether. But somehow, I always seem to end up with a pen in my hand. So even after four years have passed without me accomplishing much in the way of writing, I’ve always believed that I would some day return to it. It didn’t happen when I thought it would, but over the past six months or so, the desire to write has hit me more often. Acting on the desire is still difficult 99% of the time, but the desire is there. I’ve written more in the past month than I did in the entire year that came before it.

I get discouraged a lot, because I’m having a hard time getting into the groove I used to have before the dry spell, or at least the groove I remember having, regardless of whether that memory is real or not. It also seems as though my inferiority complex has grown while I wasn’t looking. I’m finding it very hard to think about people actually reading my words. Someone will inevitably judge them, misunderstand them and misinterpret them. And sometimes I will most likely say stupid things, which is a dangerous pastime on the Internet. I think I find that particularly hard to accept. All my life, people have labeled me as smart, and I’ve been desperate to not prove them wrong.

But now I often find myself wanting to say more stupid things, as long as I’m actually speaking. I want to be louder! My natural inclination is to listen rather than to speak, to defer to others, let others decide and avoid attention at all costs. My opinion has never seemed to weigh as heavily in my mind as other people’s. Right now, it feels like I’m almost taking up a negative amount of space. I’m thinking about what everyone else wants me to do rather than what I want. And what have I ever gotten out of that? Nothing. Sure, nobody ever looked at me and thought, “there goes brainless”, but if that’s the best epithet I get, I will consider my life well and truly wasted.

My twenties have been a dark decade, and now as I’m about to enter my last year of it, why not try something new? I’m not quite sure what that means yet, exactly, but one thing I’m certain of: I will dedicate myself to the words again and through them show myself that brighter days are possible.