Falling In And Out Of Love With Writing
BY ALEX DUFFY
Finally, an idea!
Brimming with excitement, I mash the buttons on my keyboard, letting the words spread across the page. It’s finally happened; I’m inspired to write again! Paragraph after paragraph emerges on the screen so effortlessly I question what caused me to stop writing.
I falter. I stop. I panic.
“That’s terrible! Why am I writing this?” I ask myself. I delete the text I’ve written. I write something else. I hate it just as much. I try something new. Again, I hate it. Eventually, I admit defeat and close the document.
Every project I work on encounters the same pitfall, the same feeling of unease. “Am I a good writer?” I ponder, and thus the repetitive thoughts of negativity burst from their hiding places. “Who would ever read my work?” “What’s so special about my writing?” “Why don’t I just give up?”
At most, I can muster half an hour of typing before my efforts crumble before my eyes. Article after failed article is tucked away into a folder, never to see the light again. The number of unsuccessful pieces of writing surely outstrip the amount I’ve completed.
I admit, I tend to disrupt my own work. I begin an article, I get excited, and then I find a way to loathe it. “5 Tips For Living In Student Accommodation”? Been done. Next. “An Open Letter To Myself Aged 18”? Self-serving and pitiful. What else? “Kate Bush as a British Icon”? Would anyone even care? With that, another venture is relegated to the scrapheap.
Why do I self-sabotage? Perhaps I’m comparing my writing to published works, foolishly believing that other authors create gold the second they begin typing. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence, a fear that my work isn’t up to scratch. My frequent disposal of projects could be an attempt to save myself from what I imagine to be an inevitable, overwhelming amount of ridicule.
Unfortunately, my writing has suffered in recent months. Articles have been scrapped as soon as they’ve begun, ideas are dismissed at a rapid pace, and my work has become limited and automatic. A part of me hopes for the one perfect article that’ll restore my confidence and kick start my creativity, and yet I know it’s silly to rely on such a fantasy.
What do I love about writing? This I can answer with ease. It’s the depth, the broad scale of topics on which I can research and share my thoughts. It’s a platform to bare my soul and open up comfortably. I await the moment where everything falls into place, as if my work is a giant jigsaw which feels intimidating at first but soon reveals itself to be a joyful experience.
Perhaps my favourite moment is surveying the finished piece. I can bask in the knowledge that I’ve produced this from scratch, put my idea into words, and ended with something I can be proud of. Hearing from others who have enjoyed what I’ve written makes me feel so satisfied, so accomplished. I need to recreate these moments.
I could start small, maybe write something short and simple. I could read over the work I’ve already published and see what made it so enjoyable to craft. I could even take a break from writing, recharge, stop forcing myself to create.
I’d definitely consider myself a novice writer. My work isn’t read by many people, and I write for fun, not as a career. At the same time, it’s an important part of my life, something I enjoy devoting my time to. I hope this is the start of a revitalisation, the moment where I get stuck into (and fall back in love with) writing.
Who knows, maybe I’ll go back to some of those archived articles and give them another try.