Writers need to write.
The sentence has two meanings. The literal meaning is, simply, that if
you don't write, you're not a writer. You must do in order to be.
The other, of course, speaks to the innate need to write. That need to
write, to put words on paper (or letters on a screen), is what makes a
writer a writer. It's more than the act of writing - it's the wrangling
of words and capturing of thoughts and the emptying of all the noise and
chatter of your soul into a neat little package of sentences and
paragraphs. Free the thoughts so that you can be at peace, until the
next wave of thoughts begin.
Either way, lately, I have failed as a writer. I'm not writing.
Anything. I come up short every time I try. I start writing a post and
realize that whatever I need to finish is on my other computer, so it's
going to have to wait until I can get to it. Except I never do. I'm
exhausted and unmotivated. Quite frankly, I think I just need to curl up
and sleep for an entire day just to feel remotely human again. I've
been running nonstop, and I feel guilty if I slow down. If I stop to do
the things I want to do, I feel guilty for not doing other things I
should be doing. I'm a grownup. I should be doing dishes and cleaning
out my car and putting laundry away and combing my cat and this and that
and it's completely irresponsible to read or write or check
facebook/Twitter/Pinterest. Guilt, guilt, guilt. I feel guilty for
touching my computer when I get home. I feel guilty for doing anything
that I want to do, instead of what I should be doing or am expected to
You know what happens when I let that happen, when I run nonstop and
don't take breaks for myself? I start to shut down. Pretty soon I'll be a
hysterical mess buried under pillows and hating the fact that the world
even exists and how dare it encroach into my existence?!
I'm being dramatic. I know this.
I feel stuck. Is it work? Is it my extracurricular activities? Is it
this, is it that? I'm neglecting everything and everyone, but I can't
seem to account for where all my time goes. I want to run away but I'm
not sure where I'd go. I can't escape myself. There are numerous cliches
that remind me of that.
So, I haven't been writing. I'm feeling the itch. One of my coworkers
started a book club and because I can't say no to anything (and also
because I was hoping it would force me to actually take time to read,
because I miss it) and the second book is Fahrenheit 451. I was quite
pleased, because I've already read it. I'm ahead of the game, right?
Nope. It's been probably five years since I've read it. I want to
re-read it. I've made it about six pages in and all I can think about is
how much Ray Bradbury makes me want to write. I started writing a post
last week (or was it the week before?) after he passed away, hoping to
capture exactly how much he inspires me as a writer. I felt like his
book Zen in the Art of Writing was pulled largely out of my own thoughts
and feelings and sentiments. I'm digressing. But it makes me miss
writing fiction. I always wanted to write a novel. Fuck, I don't even
care if it's good, anymore, or even publishable. I just want to write a
full story that makes it all the way to the end. Closure. Completion.
Every day I don't write feels like a day I've failed.
Even on this blog. I haven't written my Vegas recap(s) yet. I've started
a Word document. I told myself I was waiting for me to get my pictures
sorted and pulled together. The first half have been posted to facebook.
So I could write about Day 1 and Day 2 and have the pictures to back it
Have I? Obviously not.
I'm tearing my hair out, with being unsettled and lost and
directionless. Where do you want to be in ten, twenty years? What's your endgame? It's a
conversation I've had a few times lately. I don't know. My first thought
is that I wanted to sit at home in my pajamas and write books all day. I
didn't even say that out loud, because it's stupid and impractical and
financially idiotic and, really, I probably belong at a desk, staring at
spreadsheets and answering emails. I don't feel qualified for anything
other than what I already do, but whether or not it's even possible to
do this for another decade is up in the air. Culture shifts, economies
shift, companies change. Maybe my position won't even exist in ten
years. Then what? Fuck if I know. But I know I'm not planning ahead and
I'm spending most of my time just getting through each day, hoping that
eventually I'll have an epiphany on where I'm actually going.
I might try doing that thing that smarter people than myself do, where I
schedule a time onto my calendar each week, a time designated for
writing, or reading, or fucking around online. I can schedule a time and
hope that it fits into the schedule of my muse, otherwise I'll be
staring at a blank screen for an hour, but I suppose even staring at a
blank screen is more forward momentum than ignoring it altogether. It's
worth a shot, right? I can give myself assignments. I need to write
about Vegas, I need to finish and post things out of my drafts folder, I
need to catch up with myself. Maybe write a bunch of short stories and
then maybe once I have that arsenal, I can poke around for somewhere to
send them. Maybe someone will publish one. Maybe I'll feel a little bit
of a sense of validation. Maybe that will keep me going.
I need to do something. I've somehow convinced myself that my creative
pursuits are frivolous and thus not to be given importance, and I'm
seeing now what happens when I view them that way: I start to fall
apart. Because if I'm not creating something, I'm not really living. I'm
just going through the motions. And I don't want that sort of life. I
don't want to stumble through it until suddenly I'm old and full of
regret for not listening to what my heart wants.
And my heart wants to write.
I guess this post is a start.