Is this 1000 words? Close enough.
Writing 1000 words may seem like an easy task for some people, but it’s really not for me. I’m not saying I’m the only one — I know there’s a lot of other people who also struggle to write — but I’m going to be self-centered and just talk about myself today. When I was younger, it was easy for me to sit down and just write whatever came out of my head. It was a 6 lane highway, good traffic, free-flowing, quick travel time. But now it’s a dusty, dirty, country road, the kind you get diverted onto to avoid the road works, the one road that everybody ends up taking, and it takes hours to get to your destination when previously it would have taken minutes. That’s the road I seem to be stuck on now. I’m not sure when the road works started, either. I know it was quite a few years ago, and I haven’t been able to overcome them yet. I’m still on the detour.
It’s not to say that a detour is necessarily a bad thing, no. It’s just that I’ve been on this detour for too long, and I want to get off, get back onto that highway, freeway, whatever you want to call it, where words flowed as freely as they could; no speed limit, no obstacles.
There are two ways this piece of writing could either go. I could talk about why I’m on this detour and what got me on here, or I could talk about how I get off, and why I haven’t yet. Both are completely valid paths. I think I will travel both of them. In my mind, they run parallel to each other anyway.
So. Why am I on this detour? Perhaps there is someone out there struggling the same struggle as me. The lack of words, as they were, probably began during my years at university. Unlike high school, my diaries were no longer filled with bits of prose, poetry and random doodlings from my mind. And even though I was studying creative writing, the road seemed to slowly degrade. And then the road works began. I don’t know if it’s because I lack motivation, or discipline, but words don’t seem to come as easily to me as they once did. When I was younger, I kept a diary. But as I headed further into adulthood, into a steady relationship, that need to write my frustrations down fell away, or was forgotten. The random doodlings became less, and those bits of poetry were near non-existent. Every now and then, I can spew forth a clump of words, but it ain’t easy. I tried to write a novel last year. You might guess how that ended up. A thousand words out of fifty thousand was as far as I got. The story still lingers in my mind, stewing, but it hasn’t boiled over for me. I know that, one day I’ll get there, but I think I tried too much too soon. My problem is that I haven’t been able to control when I write, how long I write for, and how much I write. Scheduling ain’t my brain’s style for some reason, as much as I want it to be. And I know that scheduling is something that does need to happen, for me.
BRB, my brain’s taking a hiatus. I see cookies.
Okay, I’m back now. (And this girl has realized something.)
It’s too easy to say “I’m not motivated” or “I have writer’s block”. I think the actual problem is fear. Fear of putting myself out there. Fear of being criticized for my work. Fear of opinion.
And if I am right, if it is fear that is the problem, that means I’m going to have to bite that proverbial bullet.
One time we went to the river. There was a rope, you took a leap, swung out, and dropped in. Everyone was waiting for our mate to jump in. He kept revving himself up, we kept egging him on, telling him to “go, hurry up, just do it!” and finally he did it, he leapt out and dropped in the river. And then came my turn. I was so nervous, but all I did was grab the rope, hold on and leap out, and it was over in less than 30 seconds. I did it without thinking. I knew that, as soon as I stopped to think about what I was doing, I would freeze. And that’s what I think I need to do in this circumstance. Stop thinking about all the “what ifs” and just leap out. Stop thinking about the consequences of my actions. Stop deliberating and procrastinating. And just do it.
*If this piece seems a little disjointed, it’s because I left and came back a couple of times. I get distracted easily. Sorry.
Now I’m finally going to hit “Publish” on this draft. And do you know how long this draft has been sitting here? Four months. Better late than never, they say.