Sunday, January 14, 2018

Begin Again

You haven't written anything for two years. Well, aside from essays (and you've gotten quite good at those).

You remember a time when you were a girl who scribbled things with careless abandon. She was so happy, so unencumbered. The words poured from her pen, the tips of her fingers, like it didn't hurt her at all. Her identity was deep and rooted, known to herself and everyone else. Now it seems a foggy memory; the girl a distant stranger.

Other things occupy your time. School. Life. Friends. Books. The internet.

You don't spend time staring at a blinking cursor on a blank page on a screen, because you never get there. Instead, the blank pages are in your head, taunting you, reminding you of all you aren't and never were. You pretend to move on. Writing was a childish past time, nothing that could fulfill you later in life. Besides, everyone says writers write, which of course makes you nothing.

You think yourself in circles. You're just stuck; you're busy; you never really were serious about that writing thing; you're really, really, really busy. You'll get back to writing eventually, you tell yourself. You ignore the self-doubt and terror under the surface, that the blank page must stay blank because nothing you fill it with will ever be good enough. You'll never be good enough.

Maybe you'll never write again.

I wish you could see into the future, have the ability to turn around and look back at the whole picture. I wish you could see how you just need to grow up a little bit, to try something new, to learn to let go. I wish you could see the thousands of words you've put to a page, filling up that white space that so filled you with terror (and still does, to be honest, but you fight it). You're not the same scribble-happy little girl, but interpreting the world with words is something that will always be something you end up falling back into. I wish I could tell you that you'll find it again.

But you won't believe me.


I really, really wish I would have posted more about not being able to write anything during the time when I wasn't able to write anything, even just for those people who suffer long dry spells (including myself). Because I know it's easy with hindsight, when you are writing regularly, to look back and tell people it'll be fine, you'll get back into it eventually once you let go of your stupid perfectionism, learn a few tricks, and stop caring so much. And then suddenly you'll have almost two full-length books written! However, it's not so easy to see how you'll get out of a hole when you're in it.

But I'll say it anyway - you will find joy in writing again. It will probably be different this time; a different routine, on a different theme, more or different people cheering you on. But you will find it.

How do you get out of writing slumps? What advice would you give to someone trying to find joy in writing again?

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