I’m a failure as a writer! I spent four years in school writing reams and reams, while keeping up with all my other school assignments. I was eagerly looking forward to the time when I would have free time to write to my heart’s content and no school assignments to complete. I have been out of school for one year and three months and I have only written a half dozen poems and maybe three short stories. (All of which require major editing to be anywhere near readable.) I have leftover-from-school scripts that are screaming for editing and finishing and just sit there. What has happened to me?!
I feel like I need to do a Writer’s Confession and clear my conscience before I can start productively writing again.
Let’s see. I graduated without a job lined up. I entered the real world and moved into an apartment with friends and began looking for a job right away. I had just started dating an incredible guy and was all caught up in that. I was stressed about job searching and spent hours online everyday looking and emailing and calling about potential jobs. I got a part-time job that was more stress and commute than the money was worth.
I was already planning to take a couple months break from writing before I took it up seriously again. I needed to detox from years of writing just for school and to finish projects. I wanted to learn how to write for myself again. But then a couple months became several months and I still wasn’t writing very seriously. Through all of this, I was, ironically, part of a writer’s group (which is the only reason I even attempted the poetry and short stories). I LOVED the writer’s group. I loved hearing what people were thinking about writing and reading and critiquing what they were writing. And I was very jealous. Why were words so hard for me to put down on paper? They used to come so freely. Unbeckoned even, at times.
Then I got a job in another country teaching ESL. Not my dream job by any stretch of the imagination but a job. That incredible guy that I was dating came along too. And I was falling in love. Head over heels kind of love. It’s kind of funny. I always imagined that when I fell in love it would unlock some hidden reserve of words and language. I would suddenly become a prolific poet and understand the meaning of life well enough to condense it into short story after short story. I would write the most romantic screenplay ever imagined. Even “Casablanca” would be incomparable. My Prince Charming would not carry me off to his castle but instead become the ultimate muse. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead I was so caught up in falling in love that I just quit writing.
I think I am only just now beginning to understand why. I am naturally private person and writing is a form of sharing for me. Words are so important to me that sharing words with other people is an emotional undertaking. I also thrive on sharing ideas. Writing for me has always been a way of sharing ideas. (And oddly, it always feels like I’m sharing ideas even when no one is actually reading my writing.) I love sharing! But it takes work on my part and some sacrifice as well. Getting to know this incredible man necessitated that I share a lot of words with him. I love talking with him. I love telling him my ideas and hearing his thoughts and critiques. Part of the reason I fell in love with him is because I love sharing words with him so much. But suddenly, I no longer needed my writing in order to share ideas. I was speaking my words instead of writing my words. And I was talking A LOT. Between getting to know him and teaching language, I was sharing words and ideas almost every waking moment. I had no words left for writing.
We got engaged. We are busy working and planning our wedding. We are growing more and more in love. I am a no more of a poet now than before. (And in fact, I find some romantic poetry that I used to enjoy to just be nauseating these days.) I may be a little closer to understanding the meaning of life but much further from neatly synthesizing it into a short story.
But, I am beginning to feel the words building again. I look at my computer and my fingers begin to itch to fly across the keys and share some thoughts again. I read a story and think of five of my own again. I’m even tempted to open the computer file marked “scripts” and start editing one again. I remember there are publications called “magazines” and “literary journals” that will at least glance at a submission I send. I remember that there are a lucky few who actually make their living through sharing words through writing. And that old longing to write and ponder a story to near obsession is returning. Now to find the time to actually do it…
Thank you for hearing my confession. Please tell me to go and dawdle no more.