I’ve talked a bit on this blog about how it feels to not be motivated to write and about how crappy I feel when I don’t take the time to sit down and focus on my writing. Having the motivation, inspiration, and time to write is such an exact cocktail that it can be difficult to find. Especially when I have so many posts sitting in my reserve and I don’t technically have to write, I don’t take the time to do the thing that I love. And when I do take the time, trying to focus is difficult. As any procrastinator will attest, often the thing that I want to focus on the most is the only thing that I can’t focus on. Between the TV (which needs to be on for the sake of my sanity), my phone, and whatever else happens to be going on around my house, writing can be impossible. As soon as I sit down to write, I suddenly need to paint my nails, make that appointment I’ve been meaning to make, and order those things that I forgot that I needed.
I do love writing, and being a writer is part of who I am. When I don’t write for a long period of time, I just don’t feel like myself. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Even when that perfect cocktail is there and I’m able to actually focus on writing, I can’t always seem to get the words to flow. I’ve tried to make an oath to myself to write when I’m sitting down at my computer even if I don’t have anything to write about. With absolutely nothing standing in my way, I pull out my computer, open my Google Drive and…
Why do I keep myself from writing? If I’m being perfectly honest, I’m realizing that it’s often because I’m afraid to write. I don’t mean afraid in some sort of serial-killer-in-a-ski-mask-kills-the-pretty-girl kind of way, more like the I’m-a-complete-failure-and-am-not-actually-good-at-writing kind of way.
When I sit down to write, it is impossible to not recognize the fact that I have 100s of incomplete posts just sitting in my drive. I prefer to work in small bursts of energy, and sometimes that means that I will write one or two paragraphs of a post and then never return to it again. Sometimes, I forget that the post is there and don’t come back to it, but more often than not, I simply run out of things to say about a particular topic before I complete a blog post. I realize that I don’t have as many clever thoughts about that particular thing as I had originally thought, and now I’ve spent time working on a blog post that will never be a blog post. In reality, any time spent writing is time spent investing in my passion, but there’s still a part of me that is convinced that I need to be working on projects that will actually be published somewhere, whether on this blog or elsewhere. With a full-time job, I don’t have as much time to write as I would like, so I try to spend as much of my free time as possible writing meaningful content. Because of this time crunch, I often feel disappointed in myself when I have some free time and don’t feel like writing.
I’ve been known to create arbitrary goals and standards for myself then feel guilty when I miss my own unrealistic marks. Writing is unfortunately one of the areas in my life where this is the most prevalent. Now that I am blogging weekly and enjoying writing, I feel as though I desperately need to be creating content regularly. Not only that, now that I have the confidence to admit that I’m a good writer, I expect everything that I write to be of the same quality. Obviously, this isn’t realistic. Not every post that I create is going to be amazing. Some will be far less relatable and engaging than others. This is a hard pill to swallow. Additionally, as someone who suffers from depression, I don’t always see my work objectively. I could write the exact same piece during a depressive period that I wrote while I was feeling well and think that it is 20 times worse. Why would I want to write if what I’m going to write will just be garbage anyway?
Because of all of this internalized pressure, sitting down to write feels like a chore. While in a depressed state where everything else in my life already feels like a chore, this is like my worst nightmare since I realistically know that I enjoy writing. Nevertheless, the thoughts are constantly crossing my mind while I’m writing. What if I don’t get as much done as I would like? What if I’m not able to keep producing enough content to post once a week? What if the quality of my posts starts declining? What if I run out of thoughts mid-way through writing a post and can’t finish it? What if I find that my creative spark is gone and it never comes back?
Now, I know that all of these things (especially the last one) are wholly unrealistic. I’m not going to magically start writing at a first grade level. If I can’t keep writing content to post once a week, I can change my schedule or the format of my blog. The creative spark disappears sometimes, but it always comes back. Unfortunately, this is what happens when you have a passion that you’re proud of. When your goal is to create quality and relatable content, it’s natural to be afraid that you won’t always reach your goal. There’s always a risk and reward to being a creator. I ask myself every week if the risk and fear are worth the reward, and the answer is always a resounding “Yes!”.
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/